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New suspect arrested in ricin letter case

April 30th, 2013

A new suspect has been arrested in the on going investigation into who is behind the ricin letter mailings. The letters were mailed over two weeks ago addressed to President Barack Obama as well as Roger Wicker, the junior Republican senator from Mississippi.

Both of the letters were intercepted long before they reached their intended recipients. The letters containing the ricin, which is a toxic substance if ingested, mark the first such incident of such a scale since 2001 anthrax mailings. At that time, letters containing anthrax, also a toxic substance, were mailed to several people, including then NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw and former South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle.

This new poisoning case has led authorities to arrest James Everett Dutschke, according to The Wall Street Journal. Dutschke, 41, was arrested on Saturday, April 27, in Oxford, Miss. This came only a few days after police released Kevin Paul Curtis, the man originally believed to have been behind the letters. The new suspect was reportedly arrested in his home without incident, according to CNN.

Dutschke’s background is still being looked into, but authorities and investigators have learned some information. According to The Wall Street Journal, he was apparently a one-time Republican political candidate in Mississippi, although it is unclear what office he ran for. Aside from that, he is also a martial arts instructor and was previously employed as an insurance agent. In addition, he published a newsletter in the mid-2000s.

This arrest is not the first for Dutschke. Back in January, he was arrested for molesting three 16-year-old girls. This recent arrest is now causing a stir in his neighborhood.

According to CNN, Dutschke is being held without bond. This order is expected to stand until he goes through a preliminary hearing set to be scheduled within the next few days.

What has been causing a bigger stir among many is how authorities managed to arrest the wrong man before apprehending this new suspect. From what has been discovered so far, it is believed that Dutschke may have framed the original suspect, Kevin Paul Curtis. This belief was also echoed by Curtis and his lawyer. If this was the case, it seems that the mailing of toxic letters was nothing personal against the intended recipients, but rather a means to set up Curtis, although the motive remains a speculation.

Dutschke and Curtis have apparently been engaged in a feud that has lasted since at least 2006, according to CNN. This was when the former was employed by the latter’s uncle. Nevertheless, the circumstances behind the cause of the issues remains unclear to authorities.

Information from CNN and The Wall Street Journal was used in this report.