Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsRicin Chemical Weapon
IN THE NEWS

Ricin Chemical Weapon

FEATURED ARTICLES
NATIONAL
August 5, 2008 | Ashley Powers, Times Staff Writer
An unemployed graphic designer who told investigators that he found making ricin an "exotic idea" pleaded guilty Monday to possessing the deadly toxin in a hotel room here. Roger Bergendorff, 57, also pleaded guilty to a federal weapons charge. (A second weapons charge was dropped.) He could face up to 20 years in prison at his Nov. 3 sentencing, though prosecutors are recommending that he serve a little more than three years.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NATIONAL
August 5, 2008 | Ashley Powers, Times Staff Writer
An unemployed graphic designer who told investigators that he found making ricin an "exotic idea" pleaded guilty Monday to possessing the deadly toxin in a hotel room here. Roger Bergendorff, 57, also pleaded guilty to a federal weapons charge. (A second weapons charge was dropped.) He could face up to 20 years in prison at his Nov. 3 sentencing, though prosecutors are recommending that he serve a little more than three years.
Advertisement
SCIENCE
February 4, 2006 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Initial human tests indicate that an experimental vaccine for ricin works and is safe, raising the possibility that the vaccine might one day offer protection from the toxin, which authorities fear could be used as a terrorist weapon.
NATIONAL
April 23, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
A man suspected to have been poisoned by ricin found later in his hotel room was indicted in Las Vegas on federal charges that include possession of a biological toxin. Roger Bergendorff and his lawyer, Paul Riddle, did not appear when U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy A. Leen unsealed the indictment and scheduled Bergendorff for an arraignment and plea May 2, federal prosecutor Gregory Damm said. Bergendorff, 57, remained in jail. Leen had previously ordered him held without bail.
NATIONAL
February 27, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
The FBI has determined a powdery substance found in a roll of quarters at a University of Texas dormitory was not ricin after initial state tests had indicated it was the potentially deadly poison, a spokesman said. The FBI tests did not identify the substance, but they came back negative for the poison, said San Antonio FBI spokesman Rene Salinas. "There were no proteins in there to indicate it was in fact ricin," Salinas said. He said it was unlikely further testing would be done.
NATIONAL
February 26, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
A University of Texas student found a substance in a roll of quarters that initially tested positive for ricin, a potentially deadly poison, but more tests were needed to confirm the finding, officials said. The 19-year-old student, who said she unwrapped the powder in her Austin dormitory room Thursday, and her roommate were checked at a hospital for potential exposure to the poison, although neither had any symptoms, officials said.
NATIONAL
February 8, 2004 | From Times Wire Reports
Using DNA analysis, federal authorities are trying to glean clues about the source of ricin found in a Senate mailroom and in two earlier letter mailings, including where castor plants used to make the poisons were grown. Lee Browning, a researcher with a Texas seed company who has consulted with the FBI about ricin production, said a DNA analysis will show "if it's coming from South Carolina, Georgia, Florida or Texas."
NATIONAL
March 15, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
A man who may have been exposed to toxic ricin a month ago in his Las Vegas motel room has regained consciousness. Authorities say Roger Bergendorff, 57, remains in critical condition but is speaking with investigators. Bergendorff was hospitalized Feb. 14. Several vials of ricin powder were later found in his motel room.
NATIONAL
April 23, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
A man suspected to have been poisoned by ricin found later in his hotel room was indicted in Las Vegas on federal charges that include possession of a biological toxin. Roger Bergendorff and his lawyer, Paul Riddle, did not appear when U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy A. Leen unsealed the indictment and scheduled Bergendorff for an arraignment and plea May 2, federal prosecutor Gregory Damm said. Bergendorff, 57, remained in jail. Leen had previously ordered him held without bail.
NATIONAL
February 23, 2004 | From Times Wire Reports
A federal grand jury has subpoenaed work records for nine truck drivers employed by a Little Rock, Ark., company that transports mail for the U.S. Postal Service, as part of an effort to determine who might have delivered the first ricin-packed letter last year to a South Carolina postal processing center. Officials of Mail Contractors of America Inc. said a subpoena sought driver logs, time sheets, cellphone and telephone records and delivery receipts and expenses, the Washington Post reported.
NATIONAL
March 15, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
A man who may have been exposed to toxic ricin a month ago in his Las Vegas motel room has regained consciousness. Authorities say Roger Bergendorff, 57, remains in critical condition but is speaking with investigators. Bergendorff was hospitalized Feb. 14. Several vials of ricin powder were later found in his motel room.
NATIONAL
March 3, 2008 | Ashley Powers, Times Staff Writer
As mysteries go, this one offers an intriguing trail of clues: A man who suddenly falls ill. A deadly toxin. Guns. An "anarchist-type textbook." Beyond the items found in Roger Von Bergendorff's motel room here, authorities have revealed little about how the 57-year-old ended up unconscious and in critical condition, possibly from exposure to the poisonous substance ricin. Von Bergendorff -- a graphic designer who was struggling financially -- was hospitalized on Feb.
NATIONAL
March 2, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
Roger Von Bergendorff, a Las Vegas motel patron hospitalized after the potent poison ricin was found in his room, was "holding his own" in the hospital, according to a cousin. A down-on-his-luck Bergendorff had reportedly lived previously at the home of the cousin, Thomas Tholen, in Riverton, Utah. In a brief interview with the Associated Press, Tholen, 53, did not say more about Von Bergendorff or the Thursday discovery of several vials of ricin -- which is deadly in minuscule amounts -- in the man's extended-stay motel room on the Strip.
NATIONAL
February 27, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
The FBI has determined a powdery substance found in a roll of quarters at a University of Texas dormitory was not ricin after initial state tests had indicated it was the potentially deadly poison, a spokesman said. The FBI tests did not identify the substance, but they came back negative for the poison, said San Antonio FBI spokesman Rene Salinas. "There were no proteins in there to indicate it was in fact ricin," Salinas said. He said it was unlikely further testing would be done.
NATIONAL
February 26, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
A University of Texas student found a substance in a roll of quarters that initially tested positive for ricin, a potentially deadly poison, but more tests were needed to confirm the finding, officials said. The 19-year-old student, who said she unwrapped the powder in her Austin dormitory room Thursday, and her roommate were checked at a hospital for potential exposure to the poison, although neither had any symptoms, officials said.
SCIENCE
February 4, 2006 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Initial human tests indicate that an experimental vaccine for ricin works and is safe, raising the possibility that the vaccine might one day offer protection from the toxin, which authorities fear could be used as a terrorist weapon.
NATIONAL
October 29, 2003 | From Times Wire Reports
Despite pleas for mercy by the family of Kenneth Olsen, a federal judge sentenced the Spokane Valley man to more than 13 years in prison for possession of the deadly biological weapon ricin. U.S. District Judge Frem Nielsen rejected pleas from Olsen's family to set aside the conviction or give a light sentence, and instead imposed a midrange sentence of 13 years, nine months. The federal government considers ricin among the most toxic poisons known, with no legitimate purpose, Nielsen said.
NATIONAL
March 3, 2008 | Ashley Powers, Times Staff Writer
As mysteries go, this one offers an intriguing trail of clues: A man who suddenly falls ill. A deadly toxin. Guns. An "anarchist-type textbook." Beyond the items found in Roger Von Bergendorff's motel room here, authorities have revealed little about how the 57-year-old ended up unconscious and in critical condition, possibly from exposure to the poisonous substance ricin. Von Bergendorff -- a graphic designer who was struggling financially -- was hospitalized on Feb.
NATIONAL
January 14, 2005 | From Associated Press
A man was arrested after authorities allegedly found the deadly toxin ricin stashed in a cardboard box at his home along with a cache of weapons, officials said Thursday. Steven Michael Ekberg, 22, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of possession of a biological agent. FBI agents said they did not believe Ekberg, arrested Wednesday, had any connection to terrorist groups. Law enforcement officials were tipped off last week by an informant who said Ekberg had boasted of having ricin.
SCIENCE
August 7, 2004 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
U.S. military researchers said Wednesday that they had produced a vaccine that protected mice from the deadly effects of inhaled ricin -- one of the most toxic substances known. They now plan to test the vaccine in other animals before proceeding to humans. Ricin is made from the castor bean and is deadly when made into a fine aerosol. The Army researchers modified a segment of the ricin molecule and used it to induce immunity.
Los Angeles Times Articles
|