Traces of ricin were found on items recovered from the former martial arts studio of a man charged with mailing the toxin to President Barack Obama, according to an FBI affidavit.
Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Stephen E. Thomason’s April 26 affidavit, initially filed with a criminal complaint against James Everett Dutschke, was ordered unsealed today by a U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander in Oxford, Mississippi.
Dutschke’s studio was searched on April 24, according to Thomason’s statement
“Tests performed on removed items preliminarily tested positive for the presence of ricin,” Thomason said.
Envelopes containing the deadly substance were mailed to Obama, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi and a Mississippi state court judge.
Dutschke, 41, of Tupelo, Mississippi, was arrested on April 27, four days after federal prosecutors dropped charges against Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, of Corinth, Mississippi.
Curtis and members of his family told the FBI that Dutschke and Curtis “have known each other for several years and have had a contentious personal relationship which has manifested itself in e-mail traffic and social media postings,” according to Thomason.
The envelope addressed to the president was intercepted at a federal mail facility before reaching the White House.
It included a note saying in part, “Maybe I have your attention now. Even if that means someone must die. This must stop. To see a wrong and not expose it is to become a silent partner in its continuance. I am KC and I approve this message,” Thomason said in his affidavit.
George Lucas, a federal public defender representing Dutschke, declined to comment on the affidavit.
Dutschke is charged with knowingly producing a biological agent for use as a weapon, the maximum punishment for which is life in prison, the FBI said in an April 27 press statement. Dutschke is being held pending a bail hearing set for May 2.
The case is U.S. v. Dutschke, 13-mj-00020, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi (Oxford).
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