June 25, 2018
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Mississippi karate instructor arrested in ricin-laced letters case

Lauren Wood | Reuters
Lauren Wood | Reuters
Federal agents search the property of Everett Dutschke in Tupelo, Miss., on Tuesday. Federal law enforcement agencies investigating ricin-laced letters sent to President Barack Obama and other officials broadened their search for clues by targeting the former business of a Mississippi martial arts instructor. Dutschke was arrested early Saturday and has been charged in the case.
By Matthew Teague and Shashank Bengali, Tribune Washington Bureau

TUPELO, Miss. — A Mississippi karate instructor whose home and business were searched as part of an investigation into poisoned letters sent to President Barack Obama, a U.S. senator and a Mississippi judge has been arrested in the case.

The arrest of J. Everett Dutschke followed several days of raids and inspections at his home and the karate studio he used.

Dutschke, 41, was arrested without incident about 12:50 a.m. Saturday at his Tupelo, Miss., home by special agents of the FBI, said FBI spokeswoman Deborah Madden.

Dutschke’s attorney, Lori Basham, made a brief statement: “It is my understanding that the authorities have confirmed Mr. Dutschke’s arrest,” she said by text message. “We have no comment at this time.”

The letters, which allegedly contained ricin, were sent last week to Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and earlier to an 80-year-old judge, Sadie Holland.

Dutschke, a former candidate for the Mississippi statehouse, became the prime suspect in the case after charges were dropped Tuesday against Paul Kevin Curtis, an Elvis impersonator in Mississippi who claimed that he had been framed.

Hazardous-materials teams and federal investigators searched Dutschke’s house Tuesday.

Madden referred questions to the U.S. attorney’s office in Oxford, Miss., which didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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