Mississippi man charged with threatening Obama, others


The Mississippi man accused of mailing letters with suspected ricin has been charged with threatening President Barack Obama and others.

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release Thursday that 45-year-old Paul Kevin Curtis faced two federal charges accusing him of threatening the president and others.

Curtis was to appear in federal court Thursday. If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison.

An affidavit says the letters sent to Obama, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and a judge in Mississippi told the recipients: "Maybe I have your attention now even if that means someone must die."

The arrest in Mississippi late Wednesday rapidly concluded a day that left the nation's capitol on edge.

The FBI says the suspect, Paul Kevin Curtis, sent three letters, all of which preliminarily tested positive for the potentially deadly poison, ricin, which is produced from castor beans.

Curtis is accused of sending a ricin-laced letter to President Obama, another to Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker and a third, local authorities said, to a Mississippi justice official.

"There are great consistencies between the content, the letter itself, the way the letter was written, the postmark of the letter," said a law enforcement official in Corinth.

The FBI says the letters to the president and the senator were postmarked "Memphis, Tennessee" ten days ago with identical language, including the phrase: "To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance." Signed: "I am KC and I approve this message."

Those two letters were never delivered. They were intercepted at off-site mail screening centers, a precaution put in place after the anthrax attacks that killed five people shortly after 9/11.

Federal officials say more tests are needed to determine if the substance is, in fact, ricin, and, if so, how potent.