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Ricin found in suspect's studio, FBI says

Traces of ricin were found on items recovered from the former martial arts studio of a man charged in connection with mailing the toxin to President Barack Obama, according to an FBI affidavit.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Stephen E. Thomason's affidavit filed Friday with a criminal complaint against James Everett Dutschke was ordered unsealed yesterday by Judge S. Allan Alexander in Oxford, Miss.

Dutschke's studio was searched Wednesday, according to Thomason's statement. "Tests performed on removed items preliminarily tested positive for the presence of ricin," Thomason said.

Envelopes containing the deadly substance were mailed to Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and a Mississippi state court judge.

Dutschke, 41, of Tupelo, Miss., was arrested Saturday, four days after federal prosecutors dropped charges against Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, of Corinth, Miss.

An FBI agent testified at an April 22 court hearing that searches failed to turn up any trace of ricin at Curtis' home, as well as his vehicle and the homes of his ex-wife and parents. A preliminary analysis of his personal computer also found nothing related to ricin, Agent Brandon Grant said.

Curtis and members of his family told the FBI that Dutschke and Curtis "have known each other for several years and have had a contentious personal relationship which has manifested itself in e-mail traffic and social media postings," according to Thomason's affidavit.

The envelope addressed to the president was intercepted at a federal mail facility before reaching the White House.

George Lucas, a federal public defender representing Dutschke, declined to comment on the affidavit contents.

Dutschke is charged with knowingly producing a biological agent for use as a weapon, the maximum punishment for which is life in prison, the FBI said.

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