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Affidavit: Ricin found in suspect's studio, mask

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By The Associated Press
Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
 

TUPELO, Miss. — Ricin was found in the former martial arts studio of the man suspected of sending poison letters to President Obama and other public officials, and was discovered on a dust mask and other items he threw in the trash, federal prosecutors said in a court document made public on Tuesday.

The affidavit claims an FBI surveillance team saw James Everett Dutschke remove several items from the studio in Tupelo, Miss., on April 22 and dump them in a trash bin about 100 yards down the street. The items included a dust mask that later tested positive for ricin, the affidavit said.

Traces of ricin were found in the studio, and Dutschke used the Internet to buy castor beans, from which ricin is derived, the affidavit said.

Annette Dobbs, who owns the small shopping center where the studio was located, said authorities padlocked the door to it during the search. She said FBI agents haven't told her anything, including whether the building poses a health threat. Inside the studio is one large room with a smaller reception area and a concrete floor. Police tape covered the front and the small back door.

Dutschke, 41, was arrested on Saturday by FBI agents in his home in Tupelo and is being held without bond pending a preliminary and detention hearing on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Oxford.

The FBI searched his home, vehicles and studio last week, often while wearing hazardous materials suits. Attention turned to Dutschke when prosecutors dropped charges against an Elvis impersonator who said he had feuded with Dutschke in the past.

Dutschke said last week that he didn't send the letters. His lawyer, federal public defender George Lucas, had no comment about the information in the affidavit.

Dutschke was arrested as part of the investigation into poison-tainted letters sent to Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker and Lee County, Miss., Judge Sadie Holland.

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