11/18/2013 07:44 pm ET

Silk Road Vendor Behind Ricin Letter Sent To Obama: Homeland Security


An individual suspected of sending a letter laced with the poison ricin to President Barack Obama earlier this year is, according to the Department of Homeland Security, a former vendor on Silk Road, the online black market shut down by federal authorities in October.

Ahead of a Senate committee on digital currency such as Bitcoin, DHS official Brian De Vallance sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs detailing the agency's efforts regarding virtual currency and its ties to criminal activity. In the letter, Vallance briefly mentions a link between Silk Road and the ricin-laced mail.

"Of recent noteworthy interest was the determination that the suspect who had sent Ricin to President Obama earlier this year was a vendor on the Silk Road site," Vallance writes.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) mentioned the ricin link during an opening statement at Monday's hearing.

“The anonymity of the market place and near anonymity of the currency made it nearly impossible for law enforcement to track and, therefore made it an attractive place for criminal activity," Carper said. “In fact, in the course of our investigation, the Department of Homeland Security informed us that the suspect who allegedly sent ricin to President Obama in April of this year was a vendor on Silk Road."

As Mashable points out, two individuals have been accused of sending the president the poisoned letters: James Everett Dutschke and Shannon Guess Richardson. Dutschke was arrested after allegedly sending ricin-laced mail to Obama in April, while Richardson allegedly mailed the letters to the president in May. However, the DHS did not refer to the Silk Road-connected suspect by name.

Read the full letters from federal agencies below, courtesy of Wired:

Virtual Currency Response LettersFederal Agencies Respond to Homeland Security Committee Questions on Digit... by WiredEnterprise

(h/t Mashable)



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