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Mississippi man arrested in ricin mailings

April 17, 2013|By Richard A. Serrano
  • A firefighter in a protective suit walks into a government mail-screening facility in Hyattsville, Md.
A firefighter in a protective suit walks into a government mail-screening… (Alex Brandon / Associated…)

WASHINGTON -- A Mississippi man was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama, a U.S. senator and another official, authorities said. 

The FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service said Paul Kevin Curtis was taken into custody at 5:15 p.m. for sending three letters "which contained a granular substance that preliminarily tested positive for ricin."

Ricin, a poison, is deadly in small amounts if inhaled or ingested. Further tests will be performed on the letters to confirm whether the substance is ricin. 

The letters went to the White House, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and a Mississippi justice official. They were discovered after the Boston Marathon bombings left three dead and more than 170 injured.  The FBI said there was "no indication of a connection" between the letters and the bombings. 

Curtis was arrested at his home in Corinth, Miss., authorities said. Corinth is about 100 miles from Memphis, where the letter to Wicker was postmarked.

richard.serrano@latimes.com

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