Mississippian Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, was arrested yesterday in connection with sending ricin-positive letters to President Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS).
The FBI apprehended Curtis at his Corinth, Mississippi, home just after 5 p.m. CST on Wednesday.
The deadly toxin ricin can cause
low blood pressure and respiratory failure if inhaled. It can also lead
to symptoms of respiratory stress, fever, cough, nausea and chest
tightness, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
According to an FBI bulletin obtained by NBC News
Wednesday, both letters were postmarked April 8 out of Memphis,
Tennessee, and read “to see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a
silent partner to its continuance.”
Both letters were also signed: “I am KC and I approve this message.”
The letter addressed to Obama was stopped
at a remote government mail-screening facility. Wicker’s letter was
intercepted in a Senate mailroom. Both have been sent for additional
testing; a full analysis is expected to take 24 to 48 hours.
a press conference Wednesday night, Lee County, MS, Sheriff Jim
Johnson, said the suspect “was cooperative at this point.”
are trying to determine if mail scares from across the country
yesterday came from the same source, as the offices of U.S. Sens. Carl Levin
(D-MI) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
also received suspicious letters.
A Mississippi judge also
reportedly received and opened a letter on April 10 with similar
characteristics and suspicious substances. According to Johnson, the
judge’s letter had “great consistencies” with the letters to Wicker and
Obama, and it is currently being tested for the presence of ricin.
Joint Terrorism Task Forces in Memphis, Tennessee and Jackson,
Mississippi conducted the investigation, along with the U.S. Capitol
Police; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the U.S. Secret Service; and
several state and local agencies.
“Gayle and I want to thank the
men and women of the FBI and U.S. Capitol Police for their
professionalism and decisive action in keeping our family and staff safe
from harm,” Wicker said in a statement released Wednesday night. “My
offices in Mississippi and Washington remain open for business to all
“We particularly want to thank the people of Mississippi for their thoughts and prayers during this time,” he said.
FBI said in a statement Wednesday there is no indication of a
connection between yesterday’s tainted letters and Monday’s Boston
Marathon bombings that killed three and injured more than 170.