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Sunday, February 26, 2006 

Ricin plague

Michelle Malkin finds reports that the lethal chemical called ricin has turned up in a couple of places around the US, the latest being the Texas University. From leftist Reuters:
An FBI-led task force is trying find out how the deadly poison ricin wound up in a student dormitory at the University of Texas, a campus police spokeswoman said on Saturday.

A chunky white powder, less than the amount that would fill a plastic sandwich bag, was found on Thursday night and preliminary tests on Friday showed it to be ricin, a poison made from castor beans, spokeswoman Rhonda Weldon said. "This is not associated with any threats against the campus" in Austin, Texas, Weldon said. A spokesman for the FBI San Antonio Joint Terrorism Task Force was not immediately available to comment.

Ricin is extracted from castor beans and even small amounts of it can kill if inhaled or injected, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site. Toxicologists say it can easily be made in an ordinary kitchen. In 2005, an al Qaeda-trained Algerian man, Kamel Bourgass, was convicted in a plot to spread ricin throughout streets in Great Britain.
Generation Why has more coverage of the case. For more on what ricin is like, read here and here.

Even before this development, JunkYardBlog found a similar case having taken place in Richmond, Virginia. From the Times Dispatch:
Chesterfield County police say the discovery of the toxin ricin in a home is related to a domestic dispute.

Ricin was found Jan. 20 in the home of Chetanand Kumar Sewraz in the 14000 block of Fortune Ridge Court in the Brandermill subdivision, police said yesterday.

Ricin, which has potential to be used as an agent of biological warfare, is widely available, easily produced and derived from the beans of the castor plant. Chesterfield police spokeswoman Ann P. Reid said the ricin found in the Brandermill home was in a semi-solid mash form and poses no threat to the public.

Police said a dispute between Sewraz and his estranged wife, Mariea Gamble, became public Dec. 13, when he swore out warrants charging her with making a threatening phone call to him and threatening to burn or destroy his house or vehicle. Gamble, 22, surrendered five days later and was released that day.

On Jan. 9, Chesterfield police charged Sewraz, 24, with abduction and domestic assault. He was jailed without bond.

Police have searched the Brandermill home several times since his arrest, including yesterday, when they were accompanied by FBI agents.

Chesterfield police Maj. Warner W. Williams said lab results just became available for the semi-solid material found in the home Jan. 20.

The investigation is continuing.
Sounds pretty fishy to me.

Others on the case include The New Editor, Gateway Pundit, The Dread Pundit Bluto, The Texas Songbird, The Jawa Report, Canadian Sentinel, Small Town Veteran, Suitably Flip, A Blog for All.

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