May 19, 2014

Mississippi Man Sentenced in Ricin Letter Investigation

WASHINGTON—James Everett Dutschke, 41, of Tupelo, Mississippi, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Sharion Aycock, in Aberdeen, Mississippi, to a 300-month prison sentence for developing and possessing the biological agent ricin and subsequently mailing ricin-laced, threatening letters, including one that threatened bodily harm to the president of the United States. Dutschke was also sentenced to serve a term of five years’ supervised release.

The sentence was announced by John Carlin, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s National Security Division; Felicia Adams, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi; Daniel McMullen, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Jackson Field Office; and Craig Caldwell, Special Agent in Charge of the Secret Service’s Birmingham, Alabama District Field Office.

Following an investigation, Dutschke was arrested on April 27, 2013, and indicted by a federal grand jury on June 3, 2013. A superseding indictment was filed on November 20, 2013. Dutschke pled guilty on January 17, 2014, to one count of developing and possessing ricin and three subsequent counts of mailing threatening letters laced with the substance to the president of the United States, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, and Lee County, Mississippi Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland. According to the plea agreement between Dutschke and the U.S. Attorney’s Office that was filed in U.S. District Court in Oxford, Dutschke had agreed to serve a 300-month prison sentence and had waived his right to appeal.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Jackson and Memphis Joint Terrorism Task Forces, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Capitol Police and was assisted by the following state and local agencies: Mississippi National Guard 47th Civil Support, Mississippi Office of Homeland Security, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Prentiss County Sheriff’s Office, Corinth Police Department, Tupelo Police Department, and Booneville Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chad Lamar, Clay Joyner, and Clyde McGee of the Northern District of Mississippi and Andrew Sigler of the Department of Justice, National Security Division.