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Published On: Tue, Apr 16th, 2013

Letter intended for Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker tests positive for Ricin

A letter mailed to the Senate office of Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) has tested positive for the potent toxin, ricin, according to multiple media reports today.

According to the NY Times, the substance was detected on a letter at a mail processing center for members of Congress that is away from the Capitol, a federal law enforcement official said Tuesday.

Sen. Roger Wicker Image/US Congress

Sen. Roger Wicker
Image/US Congress

All congressional mail will now be processed through the U.S. House facility as the Senate mail facility has been closed for additional testing.

The letter taken to the F.B.I.’s laboratories in Quantico, Va., for more analysis.

Wicker has been assigned a protective detail, according to a law enforcement source.

According to a CNN report, Sen. Claire McCaskill told reporters after a briefing for lawmakers that a suspect has already been identified in the incident.

Ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans. If castor beans are chewed and swallowed, the released ricin can cause injury.  Ricin can be made from the waste material left over from processing castor beans.

It can be in the form of a powder (as in the this case), a mist, or a pellet, or it can be dissolved in water or weak acid.

As little as 500 micrograms — an amount the size of the head of a pin — can kill an adult. There is no specific test for exposure and no antidote once exposed.

Ricin works by getting inside the cells of a person’s body and preventing the cells from making the proteins they need. Without the proteins, cells die. Eventually this is harmful to the whole body, and death may occur.

Roger F. Wicker, the junior Senator in the state, has represented Mississippi in the United States Senate since December 2007.

Prior to his service in the Senate, Wicker was elected seven times, beginning in 1994, to represent Mississippi’s First Congressional District in the House of Representatives.  Before being elected to Congress, he served in the state Senate on behalf of Lee and Pontotoc counties.

 

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Alleged ricin letter sender, Paul Kevin Curtis, released and charges dropped; Tupelo man, Everett Dutschke has his home searched - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] against the Mississippi man accused of sending ricin-tainted letters to President Barack Obama and Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker were dropped today, as former suspect and Elvis-impersonator, Paul Kevin Curtis was […]

  2. Letter to President Obama ‘preliminarily tested positive’ for Ricin - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] a day after authorities discovered a letter addressed to Mississippi Republican Senator  Roger Wicker that had tested positive for the toxin, Ricin, the FBI is investigating a letter addressed to […]

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