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Man Arrested for Sending Ricin-Laced Letters to President, Senator

Ricin Found In U.S. Senate
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Federal authorities have arrested Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, for allegedly sending letters containing the deadly poison ricin to President Obama and Senator Roger Wicker (R.-Miss.) earlier this week.

The FBI made the arrest at about 5:15 p.m. (EST) Wednesday in Corinth, at Curtis’s home, without incident.

Curtis, who lives in Corinth, Mississippi, apparently signed the letters, “I am KC and I approve this message,” in an attempt to echo the closing messages in political advertisements. Curtis has long been a frequent letter-writer to political leaders. He also included the line “To see a wrong and not expose it is to become a silent partner to its continuance.”

That last part is likely a reference to Curtis’s belief in a vast conspiracy to sell human body parts on the black market that he thinks he uncovered while working at a hospital from 1998-2000. A writer identifying himself as “Kevin Curtis” wrote on many websites about this belief and also about “a conspiracy to ruin my reputation in the community as well as an ongoing effort to break down the foundation I worked more than 20 years to build in the country music scene.”

Curtis is also an Elvis Presley impersonator, which may explain why the postmarks of the letters he sent were from Memphis, Tennessee. His cousin, Ricky Curtis, said in an interview with USA Today that he thought his cousin was a “super entertainer” and that he knew of his cousin’s issues with how the government treated him. But he never thought it would come to this.

“We’re all in shock,” Ricky Curtis said. “I don’t think anybody had a clue that this kind of stuff was weighing on his mind,”

[N.Y. Times, USA Today]

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