Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Man Accused of Sending Letters with Ricin to Obama, Lawmakers

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Man Accused of Sending Letters with Ricin to Obama, Lawmakers

Article excerpt

OXFORD, Miss. * A man from Mississippi was arrested Wednesday, accused of sending letters to President Barack Obama and a senator that tested positive for the poison ricin and set the nation's capital on edge a day after the Boston Marathon bombings.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Daniel McMullen said Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, was arrested at 5:15 p.m. at his apartment in Corinth, near the Tennessee state line about 100 miles east of Memphis. It wasn't immediately known where he was being held.

Authorities still waited for definitive tests on the letters to Obama and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss. Preliminary field tests can often show false positives for ricin. The letters were intercepted before reaching the White House or Senate.

An FBI intelligence bulletin obtained by The Associated Press said those two letters were postmarked Memphis, Tenn.

Both letters said: "To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance." Both were signed, "I am KC and I approve this message."

As authorities scurried to investigate three questionable packages discovered in Senate office buildings, reports of suspicious items also came in from at least three senators' offices in their home states.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said a staff member at his Saginaw, Mich., office would spend the night in a hospital as a precaution after discovering a suspicious letter. The staff member had no symptoms, Levin said in a statement. He expected to learn preliminary results of tests on the letter by today.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said suspicious letters at his Phoenix office had been cleared with nothing dangerous found. A package at the Dallas-area office of Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, also was declared harmless, a fire department spokesman said.

All three packages in the Capitol complex turned out to be safe, Capitol police spokeswoman Makema Turner said late Wednesday. But a man was still being questioned after being stopped in connection with the packages, she said.

NO TIES TO MARATHON

All the activity came as tension was high in Washington and across the country after Monday's bombings at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured more than 170. …

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