Feds finds ricin traces at Miss. suspect's dojo

A dust mask allegedly discarded by the man accused of sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) tested positive for the poison, according to a court document made public on Tuesday.

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After James Everett Dutschke stopped by his former martial arts school in Mississippi last week, a government surveillance team observed him throw a box of latex gloves, the packaging for a coffee grinder, and a dust mask into a public garbage bin, according to an affidavit given by an FBI special agent.

The mask later tested positive for ricin, as did a liquid sample taken from the drain in the martial arts dojo’s sink, two swabs taken from inside the school, and items that had been vacuumed from the floor of the dojo, according to the affidavit. 

Federal prosecutors charged Dutschke over the weekend after arresting and ultimately dropping charges against another Mississippi man, Paul Kevin Curtis. Authorities now believe that Dutschke may have attempted to frame Curtis, as the two men have had an adversarial relationship over the years.

Ricin is a toxic poison that can be fatal and can be manufactured from castor bean waste materials.

Last week, federal agents allegedly got records that showed Dutschke used a Paypal account to make two purchases of castor beans through Ebay's website late last year, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit also describes a series of text messages between a cellphone belonging to Dutschke’s wife. She allegedly sent messages stating: “get a fire going” because “we're coming over to burn some things,” and “we are gonna clean house,” “you still need to come clean,” “search is on. Call [another person]'s cell.”

Dutschke has said he is innocent of the charges. He’s been denied bond and is scheduled for a preliminary and detention hearing Thursday in the U.S. District Court for Northern Mississippi.

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