(WASHINGTON) — The FBI appears confident that it got the right person responsible for allegedly sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama and two other public figures.
A document released Tuesday says that agents going through trash at the home of Tupelo, Miss., resident Everett Dutschke found traces of ricin on various items including a dust mask and a coffee grinder. Ricin is a deadly toxin made from castor beans.
In addition, the documents reveal agents found a download of a publication about ricin on the karate instructor’s computer along with proof of two purchases of castor bean seeds made late last year.
Federal prosecutors have charged Dutschke with “knowingly developing, producing” and stockpiling ricin. If convicted, the karate instructor faces maximum penalties of life imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
A judge ordered him held without bond, arguing that Dutschke poses a flight risk. In an unrelated case, he has been charged with molesting children at a Tupelo karate school that is now shut down.
It’s alleged that Dutschke sent packages laced with ricin last month to the president, as well as to Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker and Sadie Holland, an 80-year-old Mississippi judge.
Charges were initially filed against Elvis impersonator Paul Kevin Curtis, but were later dropped due to insufficient evidence.
Curtis and Dutschke have had a longstanding rivalry, with Dutschke claiming that Curtis is trying to frame him for the ricin scare.
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Sara Zendehnam, CNN
Jethro Mullen, Ravi Hiranand and Frank Pallotta, CNN
Pamela Brown, CNN
Jason Hanna, CNN