FBI: Traces of Ricin found at Tupelo busines

May 1, 2013 in News, Statewide News, Top Stories

From The Mississippi Link Newswire

JACKSON – During the FBI’s ongoing investigation into letters containing ricin addressed to President Barack Obama, Senator Roger Wicker, and a Mississippi judicial official – Sadie Holland – evidence collected by the FBI from the former business, Tupelo Taekwondo Plus, located on Rankin Boulevard Ext. in Tupelo, Mississippi, tested positive for trace levels of ricin.

James Everett Dutschke

Because public safety is always the FBI’s first priority in any investigation, that location was immediately sealed off and appropriate public health authorities were notified. The FBI is now conducting further forensic examination for the purpose of identifying trace evidence, residues, and signatures of production that could provide evidence to support the investigation.

Ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans. Ricin poisoning can occur when the substance enters the body through ingestion, inhalation, or injection. To date, the FBI is not aware of any illness as a result of exposure to these letters.

James Everett Dutschke, 41, of Tupelo, was arrested Saturday, April 27 on a criminal complaint charging him with knowingly developing, producing, stockpiling, transferring, acquiring, retaining, and possessing a biological agent, toxin, and delivery system for use as a weapon, namely, ricin.

Dutschke was detained days after police arrested and then released another man, Paul Kevin Curtis. Curtis said he was framed.

The complaint also alleges that Dutschke did so with the attempt to threaten and conspire. If convicted on this charge, Dutschke faces maximum possible penalties of life imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and five years of supervised release.

Dutschke was to appear in the United States District Court in Oxford, Mississippi, on Monday, April 29, before U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander.

Dutschke’s arrest resulted from a cooperative investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation-Mississippi and Memphis Joint Terrorism Task Forces, the United States Secret Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and several other state, county and federal agencies.