New suspect arrested for sending ricin letters to Obama, senator

Washington, Apr 27 (EFE).- Authorities in Mississippi arrested a new suspect in the case of the letters containing ricin sent to U.S. President Barack Obama and a Republican senator, local media said Saturday.

The police chief of the city of Tupelo, Tony Carleton, said authorities arrested a man identified as James Everett Dutschke at around 1:00 a.m. Saturday, the local Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal said.

The arrest occurred four days after authorities dropped charges against another individual, Paul Kevin Curtis, whom they arrested last week on suspicion that he was the perpetrator.

Curtis was released after the FBI concluded that no proof existed relating him to the case, soon after his attorney, Christi McCoy, asserted that someone was trying to frame him and pointed to Dutschke as the one who might be doing it.

Federal authorities searched Dutschke's house and the taekwondo studio where he was an instructor, though it remains unknown whether they found anything relating him to the toxic letters.

Curtis, an Elvis imitator who according to his family suffers from a bipolar condition, was arrested last April 17 by the FBI and local police in Corinth, very near to Tupelo, where Dutschke also lives.

He was accused of threatening to kill or cause bodily harm to the president of the United States, but the Justice Department finally dropped the charges.

After performing several analyses, the FBI confirmed that both the letter sent to Obama and the one mailed to Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker contained ricin, a highly toxic protein contained in the seeds of the castor oil plant, Ricinus communis, whose whitish powder is lethal if it is inhaled and enters the bloodstream.