A man arrested in the US state of Mississippi has been charged with the possession and use of a biological agent as a weapon in the case of ricin - tainted letters sent to a number of US officials, including President Barack Obama.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) spokeswoman Deborah Madden said Everett Dutschke was arrested at his home early on Saturday and turned over to US marshals, who took him into custody. The 41-year-old martial arts instructor was later charged with "developing ... and possessing" ricin and "attempting" to use it "as a weapon," according to a joint statement by the US attorney for the northern district of Mississippi and the head of the FBI's Mississippi office. Dutschke is scheduled to appear in a federal court in Mississippi on Monday. He faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine if found guilty. His arrest came days after US prosecutors dropped charges against Paul Kevin Curtis, another Mississippi man, in the same case. Curtis was released from prison on April 22 after searches of his residence in connection with the ricin-tainted letters failed to provide sufficient evidence. The letters were sent last week to President Barack Obama, Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi and earlier to an 80-year-old Mississippi judge, identified as Sadie Holland. The letters read in part, "To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance." They were signed "I am KC and I approve this message." Each letter had a Memphis, Tennessee, postmark and no return address.