[QODLink]
Americas

Suspect arrested for 'poison' letter to Obama

FBI says Mississippi man detained for sending letters containing suspected deadly ricin to US president and senator.

Last Modified: 18 Apr 2013 08:13
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

US authorities have arrested a suspect from Mississippi in connection with a letter that tested positive for the poison ricin that was sent to President Barack Obama, a law enforcement source has said.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said on Wednesday that the letter was intercepted at a facility away from the White House, adding that the letter was received on Tuesday.

"This facility routinely identifies letters or parcels that require secondary screening or scientific testing before delivery," Donovan said.

"The Secret Service is working closely with the US Capitol Police and the FBI in this investigation."

The FBI said late on Wednesday it had arrested Paul Kevin Curtis, of Corinth, Mississippi, in connection with the letters.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said preliminary tests on a letter sent to President Barack Obama indicated the presence of ricin.

But the FBI statement added: "There is no indication of a connection to the attack in Boston," where three people were killed in bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday.

The letter is undergoing further testing because preliminary field tests can be unreliable, creating false positives.

Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane, reporing from Washington DC, said: "It will take up to 48 hours for them to find out if it is ricin."

Senator targeted

It came after legislators said a different letter was mailed to Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker that tested positive for ricin.

A law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the letter to Obama was very similar to the one mailed to Wicker.

Michigan Senator Carl Levin has also said his regional office in his state received a suspicious letter and that authorities have been alerted.

Levin said in a statement that an aide received the letter on Wednesday, but did not open it. Authorities are now investigating.

The Democratic legislator said he and his staff do not know if the mail presented a threat.

The episode also recalled the mysterious series of letters laced with anthrax that were sent to lawmakers and some journalists following the September 11 attacks in 2001 which killed five people and sickened 17 others.

Tensions have been high in Washington and across the country since the deadly bombings on Monday at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured more than 170.

380

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Some scientists say authorities in favour of nuclear energy tend to deny the negative results of researchers.
Report on child sex abuse in British Asian community highlights issues that may affect the entire nation.
Taliban makes quick gains in Afghanistan with little opposition from Afghan army as US withdrawal begins.
Experts from Minamata, Japan check for signs of mercury illnesses in Ontario, Canada.
Record numbers of migrants have made harrowing sea journeys to Italy and Greece this year.
join our mailing list