On April 15, 2013, an envelope that preliminarily tested positive for ricin, a highly toxic protein, was intercepted at the US Capitol's off-site mail facility in Washington, D.C. According to reports, the envelope was addressed to the office of Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker.[2] On April 17, 2013, an envelope addressed to President of the United States Barack Obama preliminarily tested positive for ricin.[3]

2013 ricin letters
Ricin structure.png
LocationWashington, District of Columbia, US
DateApril 15–17, 2013 [1]
TargetSen. Roger Wicker,

President Barack Obama,

Mississippi Judge Sadie Holland
Attack type
Bioterrorism, attempted poisoning, attempted assassination
PerpetratorJames Everett Dutschke

Both letters, which were mailed from Memphis, Tennessee,[4] included the phrases "No one wanted to listen to me before. There are still 'Missing Pieces.' Maybe I have your attention now even if that means someone must die. This must stop. To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance." and "I am KC and I approve this message."[5][6][7]

A third letter mailed to a Mississippi judge, Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland, that was received and opened on April 10, contained similar language and was sent for testing.[4] The letters tested positive for ricin during FBI testing.[8]

Early suspect releasedEdit

On April 17, 2013, FBI agents detained a Corinth, Mississippi, man on suspicion of mailing the ricin-laced letters.[4][5][9] All charges were dropped however, and he was released on April 23, 2013. Federal investigators reported that they could find no evidence linking him to the letters.[10] An FBI agent testified that no ricin or precursors were found in the man's home, nor did a preliminary forensic analysis of his computer reveal anything related to ricin. The defense attorney claimed in court that his client was being framed, possibly by a man with whom he had been feuding online.[11]

Second arrestEdit

On April 23, agents in hazardous materials suits searched the home of a Tupelo, Mississippi man in connection with the ricin investigation.[12] On April 27, the man, identified as James Everett Dutschke, was arrested in connection with the case.[13] Dutschke was out on $25,000 bail for unrelated state criminal charges of April 1, 2013.[14] Under suspicion since the release of the prior suspect, Dutschke denied the allegations through his lawyer.[14] Saying that new information had been discovered in the case, authorities who had placed his house under surveillance arrested Dutschke in the early hours of April 27.[14] Later that day, Dutschke was charged with attempted use of a biological weapon.[15] On June 3, 2013, Dutschke was indicted by a federal grand jury on five counts.[16] He was indicted for producing and using the deadly toxin as a weapon, and using the mail to threaten President Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and Lee County Judge Sadie Holland.[16]

In May 2014, Dutschke pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.[17]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Mickolus, Edward (2016-07-14). Terrorism, 2013-2015: A Worldwide Chronology. ISBN 9781476664378.
  2. ^ Brooks, Mike; Bash, Dana (April 17, 2013). "Envelope tests positive for ricin at Washington mail facility". CNN. Retrieved April 27, 2013.
  3. ^ "Letter sent to Obama tests positive for ricin, officials say". NBC News. April 17, 2013. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Hughes, Brian (April 17, 2013). "Feds arrest suspect in ricin-laced letters sent to Obama, senator". The Washington Examiner. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Hartman, Rachel Rose; Olivier Knox (April 17, 2013). "Authorities arrest Mississippi man in ricin letters to Obama, senator". Yahoo News. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  6. ^ Williams, Pete; Welker, Kristen (April 17, 2013). "Feds arrest suspect in ricin-positive letters sent to Obama, senator". NBC News. Retrieved April 27, 2013.
  7. ^ Mohr, Holbrook; Sainz, Adrian (April 18, 2013). "Family Says Accused Ricin Mailer Is Mentally Ill". ABC News. Retrieved April 27, 2013.
  8. ^ "FBI searches for clues in ricin investigation". CNN. April 26, 2013. Retrieved April 27, 2013.
  9. ^ Smith, Matt; Cratty, Carol (April 17, 2013). "Feds: Mississippi man arrested in ricin scare". CNN. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  10. ^ Mears, Bill (April 23, 2013). "Ricin suspect freed, marshals say". CNN. Retrieved April 27, 2013.
  11. ^ Harris, Andrew; Russell, Marty (April 23, 2013). "Ricin-Letter Suspect Released From Mississippi Jail". Bloomberg News. Retrieved April 27, 2013.
  12. ^ "FBI searches for clues in ricin investigation". CNN. April 24, 2013. Retrieved April 24, 2013.
  13. ^ "Dutschke arrested in ricin case". WTVA. April 27, 2013. Archived from the original on May 6, 2013. Retrieved April 27, 2013.
  14. ^ a b c Ward, Robbie (April 27, 2013). "Authorities arrest Mississippi man in ricin case". Reuters. Retrieved April 27, 2013.
  15. ^ "Martial arts instructor charged with attempted use of biological weapon". Chicago Tribune. April 27, 2013. Archived from the original on April 28, 2013. Retrieved April 27, 2013.
  16. ^ a b Cratty, Carol (4 June 2013). "Mississippi man indicted in case of ricin letters to Obama, others - CNN.com". CNN. Washington, D.C. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  17. ^ "Man who sent Obama ricin sentenced". POLITICO.