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Deadly, poisoned letter sent to Obama leads to arrest

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 18th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A Mississippi man who sent poison pen letters to U.S. President Barack Obama - literally, as they were dripping with the deadly poison ricin, has been arrested by the FBI. Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said that the letter was intercepted at a facility away from the White House.

LOS ANGELES. CA (Catholic Online) - "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."

Paul Kevin Curtis, of Corinth, Mississippi has been arrested in connection with the letters.

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

"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, according to a statement from the FBI.

In the meantime, a different letter was mailed to Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker that also tested positive for ricin. The letters are undergoing further tests as preliminary field tests can be unreliable, creating false positives.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a law enforcement official 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 reported 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 has called to mind the 2001 anthrax attacks in the U.S., also known as "Amerithrax" by its FBI case name. That incident occurred over the course of several weeks beginning on Tuesday, September 18, 2001, one week after the September 11 attacks.

Letters containing anthrax spores were mailed to several news media offices and two Democratic U.S. Senators, killing five people and infecting 17 others. According to the FBI, the ensuing investigation became "one of the largest and most complex in the history of law enforcement".
 
Tensions have run 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.

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