NBC News reported Wednesday evening that an arrest has been made in the case of ricin-laced letters being sent to the President Barack Obama and to Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). The suspect was identified as Kenneth Curtis of Tupelo, Miss.
According to the FBI, both letters contained a closing statement with the identical phrase, "to see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance." Both are also signed with the initials 'KC."
The Department of Justice released the following statement on the arrest, confirming the name of the suspect to be Paul Kevin Curtis, and not Kenneth Curtis. According to the AP, the FBI confirmed him to be 45 years old.
Today at approximately 5:15 p.m. (CDT), FBI Special Agents arrested Paul Kevin Curtis, the individual believed to be responsible for the mailings of the three letters sent through the U.S. Postal Service which contained a granular substance that preliminarily tested positive for ricin. The letters were addressed to a U.S. Senator, the White House and a Mississippi justice official.
The individual was arrested at his residence in Corinth, Mississippi, following an investigation conducted by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces in Memphis, Tenn., and Jackson, Miss., the U.S. Capitol Police, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Secret Service, aided by the following state and local agencies: Lee County, Miss., Sheriff’s Office, Prentiss County, Miss., Sheriff’s Office; Corinth, Miss., Police Department; Booneville, Miss., Police Department; Tupelo, Miss., Police Department; the Mississippi National Guard 47th Civil Support Team; and the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security.
The letter sent to Obama was intercepted Wednesday and is still being further tested.
A number of Senate offices around the country encountered suspicious mail scares on Wednesday, including those of Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ricin is a deadly powder that can cause symptoms including respiratory stress, fever, cough, nausea and chest tightness. Low blood pressure and respiratory failure can occur as a result of inhalation.
On Wednesday evening, Wicker released the following statement, thanking the FBI and police:
“Gayle and I want to thank the men and women of the FBI and U.S. Capitol Police for their professionalism and decisive action in keeping our family and staff safe from harm. My offices in Mississippi and Washington remain open for business to all Mississippians. We particularly want to thank the people of Mississippi for their thoughts and prayers during this time.”
This post has been updated to clarify that the name of the suspect was originally misidentified.