Ricin blues (the details)

Posted in Bioterrorism, Ricin Kooks at 7:59 pm by George Smith

Curtis Wilke — “I’ve thought, ‘God, I wish I were still a reporter; it’d be fun to cover this story’ … Neither of them seems very sophisticated. Make a weapon of mass destruction from a bunch of beans?

Pounding castor seeds is always a fool’s idea. J. Everett Dutschke was an amateur, never thinking things through. He blabbed to a friend about being able to make a contact poison powder. (Ricin isn’t a contact poison.) He ordered castor seeds off eBay, paying through PayPal, records of which it took the FBI no time at all to access.

It also does not do to be seen disposing of garbage when the FBI is in town. It has mobile surveillance and this appears efficient when it counts.

The investigation can also tie Dutschke to the mailed letters through addresses and other materials found in his residence.

Two snaps from the FBI complaint describe much of it.

Someone unnamed in the affidavit would seem to be available as a witness if it goes to trial.

The complete affidavit concerning the matter of ricin mailer J. Everett Dutschke, unsealed today, is here.

After a slightly fumbled start, for which the US government will presumably pay, the FBI recovered nicely in collection of evidence for what looks like a very tight case.


  1. Chuck said,

    April 30, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    So if some good old boy let some of the grease from his fried chicken drip onto a letter to his congressman, would he be hauled in by the Bureau for trying to assassinate via botulinum toxin?

    Or is it that the botulinum toxin market is worth about $3B and the castor bean market isn’t?

  2. George Smith said,

    May 1, 2013 at 8:08 am

    Curiously, in the Georgia ricin beans gang case the government did test for botox because the accused talked about wanting to get it. Of course no botox was found.

  3. Chuck said,

    May 1, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Okay, so from the arrest, do we assume that the government expects that elected officials will eat, huff or inject the mailed correspondence that they receive?

    I always suspected that our politicians were a strange bunch, but honestly, this is ridiculous.

  4. George Smith said,

    May 1, 2013 at 10:04 am

    At the Federal level in DC, they don’t even get the mail now. It’s all screened for poisons and bombs. At the local level, the Tupelo judge apparently got hers and gave it a sniff test.


    I wouldn’t have expected it to be hazardous. Castor powder didn’t kill people in the mills.