Nightly News   |  April 27, 2013

New arrest made in connection to ricin-laced letters

Police in Tupelo, Miss., say James Everett Dutschke has been charged with possession of a biological agent with intent to use as a weapon in connection with letters addressed to President Barack Obama and others that initially tested positive for the poison ricin. NBC’s Janet Shamlian reports.

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>>> that's becoming a growing sensation on the internet.

>>> good evening. for the second time in less than two weeks, the fbi has arrested a person they believe since poison laced letters to president obama and two others. we're told the president was informed of today's arrest of a 41-year-old tupelo, mississippi man. he was picked up this morning just days after embarrassed authorities cleared another man arrested in the case, arresting him after admitting they couldn't link him to the letters. the letters were addressed to the president, a u.s. senator and a mississippi judge. tonight, there are questions over the motive and whether someone in this was framed. janet shamlian has the story.

>> reporter: federal agents arrested the karate teacher at his mississippi home. tonight, he's charged with possession of a biological agent with intent to use as a weapon. the latest chapter in a bizarre investigation after ricin laced letters were sent to president obama , senator roger wicker and a mississippi judge. when investigators searched his house and studio earlier this week, the 41-year-old denied any involvement.

>> i had absolutely nothing to do with those letters and the person accused of sending those letters, her defense attorney or his defense attorney steered them in my direction because i was probably an easy target.

>> reporter: he was referring to paul kevin curtis . the man initially arrested for sending the letters. curtis also denied being involved and suggested he might have set him up. he was held six days before terrorism charges were dropped and he was released.

>> what did i think? i had never heard of ricin. i thought they said rice and i said i don't eat rice. i said here's the key to my home. there's no rice. they said you know what we're talking about. they were very angry. it's like they knew they had the right guy.

>> reporter: the men reportedly had a tangleded relationship. the arrest of one and then the other experts say doesn't reflect well on law enforcement .

>> no one is more embarrassed and sorry than the fbi and u.s. attorneys office when something happens like this. they don't want it to happen. they regret it. they are only after the real person reasonable.

>> reporter: prior to today's arrest, he was out on bond on charges of child molestation, which he's pleaded not guilty. if convicted in this case, he could face life in prison . janet shamlian , nbc news, houston.