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Feds link Dutschke to ricin, letters in affidavit

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Updated: 5/01/2013 12:30 am
TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- Federal court records show investigators discovered ricin, a deady poison, in the location of the former business of James Everett Dutchke.

The affadavit made public Tuesday says Dutchke, 41, removed several items from the building on April 22 after telling the landlord he needed to retrieve a fire extinguisher and other items from inside.

Court records say a mobile surveillance team watched him leave the building and throw several items into a public garbage receptacle about 100 yards away.

Agents say they recovered a box for a coffee grinder, latex gloves, dust mask and an empty bucket of floor adhesive.

Three tests performed on the dust mask came back positive for ricin.

The document also says agents recovered items from a garbage can at Dutschke's South Canal Street home.

Those items included address labels, different types of yellow paper and a dust mask.

Authorities say three test confirmed ricin on the dust mask.

The affadavit also refers to Dutschke's arrest in January by Lee County Sheriff's deputies.

It says a laptop seized during the arrest was the subject of a federal search warrant.

The search showed someone had downloaded publications on the safe handling, storing, and methods of detecting ricin.

Agents also searched Dutschke's home on April 23 and agents seized a computer and a printer.

Agents say the computer was manufacturing in January of 2013 but the operating system had been reinstalled on April 22 along with a printer driver.

The agent, Stephen A. Thomason, says he was told in the court document he was told persons wishing to delete the contents of their hard drive will often reinstall the computer's operating system.

The court document then states agents returned to the location of the former business and removed drain traps from two rooms and took swabs from several locations in the building.

These items were tested and five of the six items submitted tested positive for ricin.

Those included a dust mask, liquid removed from the drain, one trace filter vacuumed from the floor of the dojo, and two swabs.

The same day, agents learned Dutschke had purchased castor beans on eBay on November 17 and December 1.

The document also references test recovered during a search of his cell phone records.

The say the FBI Laboratory examined over 400 documents and determined they bear the same corresponding "trashmarks" as three ricin letters sent to President Barack Obama, U. S. Senator Roger Wicker, and Lee County Circuit Court Judge Sadie Holland.

One witness told agents Holland had presided over a civil suit filed by Dutschke against him.

He told investigators Dutschke said he could manufacture a poison, place it in envelopes, and mail it to elected officials.

The witness says Dutschke said anyone who opened the envelopes containing the poison would die.

The man says he and Dutschke had an altercation because Dutschke "made sexual advance's" toward his daughter.

The affadavit says the letters sent to President Obama and Senator Wicker were found on April 16, and the letter to Judge Holland was received on April 17.

It says all three letters were postmarked in Memphis on April 8 and had no return address.

All three letters tested positive for ricin.

Agent Thomason says Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, of Corinth was identified as a person of interest because of language contained in the letters.

Curtis was originally charged, but identified Dutschke as someone who might have sent the letters.

The affadavit says Curtis' family also identified him and told agents the man had a contentious personal relationship that manifested itself through email and social media postings.

Curtis has since been cleared in the investigation.

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