Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

US man charged over sending letters laced with ricin to Obama

A man accused of mailing letters laced with the deadly poison ricin to US President Barack Obama and other officials claims that he uncovered a conspiracy to sell human body parts on the black market and that 'various parties within the government' were trying to ruin his reputation.

OXFORD, US // A man accused of mailing letters laced with the deadly poison ricin to US President Barack Obama and other officials, has claimed that he uncovered a conspiracy to sell human body parts on the black market and that "various parties within the government" were trying to ruin his reputation.

Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, is charged with threatening Mr Obama and others, the department of justice said yesterday. He appeared in federal court on the two charges and, if convicted, could face up to 15 years in prison.

Mr Curtis was surprised by his arrest and maintains he is innocent, his lawyer said after the hearing.

"He maintains 100 per cent that he did not do this," Christi R McCoy said.

Ms McCoy said she had not yet decided whether to seek a hearing to determine if Mr Curtis was mentally competent to stand trial.

An FBI affidavit released yesterday said Mr Curtis sent three letters with suspected ricin to Mr Obama, Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi and a Mississippi judge. The letters read:

"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. I am KC and I approve this message."

The FBI said there was no indication of a connection between the letters and the Boston Marathon bombings. The letters to Mr Obama and Mr Wicker were postmarked April 8, before the marathon.

The affidavit claimed Mr Curtis had sent letters to Mr Wicker's office several times before with the message "this is Kevin Curtis and I approve this message". Such language is typically used by candidates at the end of campaign ads.

In several letters to Mr Wicker and other officials, Curtis said he was writing a novel about black market body parts called Missing Pieces.

Curtis also had posted language similar to the letters on his Facebook page, the affidavit claimed.

The documents indicate Curtis had been distrustful of the government for years.

In 2007, Curtis's former wife called police to report that her husband was extremely delusional, anti-government and felt that the government was spying on him with drones.

Mr Curtis was arrested on Wednesday at his home.

The material discovered in the letter to Mr Wicker has been confirmed through field testing and laboratory testing to contain ricin, the Senate sergeant-at-arms Terrance Gainer said yesterday.

The FBI has not yet reported the results of its own testing of materials sent to Mr Wicker and to Mr Obama.

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greeted by university students as he leaves Sistan University in Sistan and Baluchestan’s provincial capital of Zahedan on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

In Iran’s most troubled province, Rouhani hears pleas for change

Hassan Rounani aims to connect with residents of far-flung Sistan and Baluchestan province.

 Prince Bandar bin Sultan in Riyadh on March 3, 2007. Hassan Ammar / AFP Photo

Saudi Prince Bandar promised a victory he could not deliver

Saudi Arabia's controversial intelligence chief stepped down this week after rumours that his policies on Syria had fallen out of favour.

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish spiritual leader Fethullah Gulen. AFP Photo

The inner workings of Gulen’s ‘parallel state’

Fethullah Gulen's followers are accused of trying to push Turkey's prime minister from power.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National