Washington: In a surprise move, the FBI has dropped charges against a man accused of sending a ricin-laced letter to US President Barack Obama and a Senator, after "new information" became available in the case. (Agencies)
Paul Kevin Curits was arrested on April 17 and charged with sending a threat to the President last week after letters containing the poison triggered security scares around Washington.
The FBI's decision, which surprised many, came a day after the investigating agency told court that they could not find the poisonous substance in his house. The FBI is now looking at another suspect, authorities said on Tuesday.
Charges were dropped and "new information" became available, US Attorney Felicia Adams said. Authorities are investigating whether someone may have tried to falsely implicate the Elvis impersonator from Corinth, Mississippi, a law enforcement source said on condition of anonymity. "It's like a train has been lifted off my shoulders," Curtis was quoted by CNN as saying. "I'm overwhelmed. I'm extremely happy to be vindicated and out and able to see my kids," he said.
Curtis said his arrest was surreal. "It looked like a scene out of a movie," said Curtis, adding that there were hooded men with machine guns. "I was just overwhelmed. I just kept asking, 'what is ricin? What did I do?'"
Curtis' attorney, Christi McCoy, said her client has been framed by someone who used several phrases Curtis likes to use on social media. The letters read, in part: "To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance." They were signed "I am KC and I approve this message," a source said.
Curtis had been accused of sending letters containing "a suspicious granular substance" to Obama; Senator Roger Wicker; and Sadie Holland, a Justice Court judge in Lee County, Mississippi.
The FBI said the substance tested positive for ricin, a toxin derived from castor beans that has no known antidote. No illnesses had been found as a result of exposure to the toxin. The letter sent to Obama from Curtis was mailed between April 8 and April 17. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said he wasn't aware if the President has been briefed on Curtis' release.
Washington: In a surprise move, the FBI has dropped charges against a man accused of sending a ricin-laced letter to US President Barack Obama and a Senator, after "new information" became available in the case.