Mississippi Man Charged In Ricin Letters Case

A Mississippi man was charged on Saturday in connection with ricin-tainted letters that were sent to the president and several other government officials last week.

FBI spokeswoman Deborah Madden confirmed that James Everett Dutschke was arrested at his home on Saturday morning in connection with the poisonous letters.

Dutschke was charged later in the day with knowingly developing, producing, stockpiling, transferring, acquiring, retaining, and possessing a biological agent, toxin, and delivery system, for use as a weapon. He was also charged with attempting, threatening, and conspiring to do the same.

If the Mississippi man is convicted, he could face life in prison, a $250,000 fine, and five years of supervised release. He is expected in US District Court in Oxford, Mississippi on Monday.

Dutschke’s arrest comes two days after the release and dismissal of charges against Paul Kevin Curtis, also of Mississippi. Curtis was arrested on Tuesday, the day after the first of the ricin letters were found. Curtis’s home and vehicle were searched, but investigators found no evidence of ricin or ricin-making equipment.

He was released from jail on Thursday morning. Charges were dropped against Curtis later that day. Curtis told investigators that Dutschke had a long-standing conflict with him and may have tried to frame him. Dutschke’s home was searched on Tuesday by federal agents.

Curtis’s attorney, Christi McCoy, was thrilled by Curtis’s release. She released a statement saying:

“We’re just thrilled, so happy with the government. Sometimes law enforcement will get on one angle and stay on that angle no matter what, and we are so happy that was not the case here. They went where the evidence led, realized it was a dead end, and went where true evidence was.”

The man charged in the ricin letters case has feuded with Curtis in the past over various matters. He also has a link with local judge Sadie Holland, one of the letter recipients.