Autistic Man Arrested for
Making Ricin In His Apartment

From Patricia Doyle, PhD

It was the vigilance of the Sheffield Seed Company employee in Locke, N.Y. who alerted the FBI of the purchase of 2.25 kilograms of castor beans by the man that commenced the investigation by the FBI. This is the type of vigilance that is needed if we are to catch future bioterrorists BEFORE they act.
This is a good example of how a citizen can prevent acts of terror. Had the employee not alerted the FBI, it is quite possible that the man would have used the ricin in some form, such as tampering wtih food products.
We must all be vigilant.
Patricia Doyle
A ProMED-mail post
Date: 13 Apr 2004
From: ProMED-mail
Source: NY post [edited]
FBI makes Ricin arrest
A man, 37, is in FBI custody for allegedly possessing the deadly toxin ricin. The man was arrested at his apartment Friday.
Agents said they believe the man was making the ricin in his apartment but won't disclose how much was found. They also would not say what they believe he was going to do with it.
Date: 13 Apr 2004
From: ProMED-mail<>
Source: CNN [edited]
Washington state man arrested after deadly ricin found in his
A 37-year-old man is in FBI custody for allegedly possessing the deadly toxin ricin. The man was arrested at his apartment Friday and charged with one count of possession of a biological agent or toxin.
"It is enough that it could cause concern that it could harm someone; could kill someone," FBI spokeswoman Roberta Burroughs said.
The man was held pending a hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court. He is described in court documents as having autism, a developmental disorder featuring a spectrum of symptoms including impairments in communication and repetitive behaviors such as finger-tapping or head-banging.
Federal criminal justice sources told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that they do not believe the man had political motivations for making the ricin and had no plans to use it.
Agents believe the man was making the ricin in his apartment on a relative's property but won't say how much was found.
The criminal investigation of the man began in November [2003] when an employee of the Sheffield Seed Company in Locke, New York, warned the FBI in New York that this man had ordered 2.25 kilograms of castor seeds [beans], a key ingredient in making ricin. Because the company considered the order unusual, it alerted the FBI. In December 2003, the seeds were mailed to this particular individual.
Ricin can be fatal if ingested, inhaled, or injected. There is no antidote. It is relatively easy to make. Unlike anthrax spores, ricin requires little scientific training to engineer and is not nearly as dangerous to handle.
In Washington DC, ricin was found 2 Feb 2004 on a mail-opening machine in the office suite of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist [see ref. below]. The discovery led to a shutdown of 3 Senate office buildings for several days, and about 2 dozen staffers and Capitol police officers underwent decontamination.
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
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