The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

April 27, 2013

FBI: Miss. man arrested in suspicious letters case

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi man whose home and business were searched as part of an investigation into poisoned letters sent to the president and others has been arrested in the case, according to the FBI.

Everett Dutschke, 41, was arrested about 12:50 a.m. Saturday at his Tupelo home in connection with the letters, FBI spokeswoman Deborah Madden said. The letters, which tests showed were tainted with ricin, were sent April 8 to President Barack Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and earlier to an 80-year-old Mississippi judge, Sadie Holland.

Madden said FBI special agents arrested Dutschke (pronounced DUHS'-kee) without incident. She said additional questions should be directed to the U.S. attorney's office. The office in Oxford did not immediately respond to messages Saturday.

Dutschke's attorney, Lori Nail Basham, said Saturday in a text message that "the authorities have confirmed Mr. Dutschke's arrest. We have no comment at this time." Basham also said via text that she didn't know what the charges against Dutschke were.

Basham said earlier this week that Dutschke was "cooperating fully" with investigators. Dutschke has insisted he had nothing to do with the letters.

Ryan Taylor, a spokesman for Wicker, said Saturday that "because the investigation is still ongoing, we're not able to comment."

Charges in the case were initially filed against an Elvis impersonator but then dropped. Attention then turned to Dutschke, who has ties to the former suspect, the judge and the senator. Earlier in the week, as investigators searched his primary residence in Tupelo, Dutschke told The Associated Press, "I don't know how much more of this I can take."

"I'm a patriotic American. I don't have any grudges against anybody. ... I did not send the letters," Dutschke said.

Charges initially were filed last week against Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, the Elvis impersonator, but then dropped after authorities said they had discovered new information. Curtis' lawyers say he was framed.

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