A Mississippi man was arrested by the FBI Wednesday in connection with threatening letters sent to President Obama. 45-year-old Elvis impersonator, Paul Kevin Curtis, has been charged with making threats against the president, and is suspected of being the origin of letters containing a poisonous substance, thought to be ricin, to both the president and U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS).
The letters, which were reportedly intercepted at a mail screening facility, initially tested positive for the presence of ricin, a poisonous substance naturally found in castor beans, and yesterday the FBI confirmed the presence of the poison. Off-site screening of White House mail has been standard since the 2001 anthrax attacks.
Curtis’s ex-wife told the Associated Press that he suffers from bipolar disorder, but said that she does not believe the allegations about her ex-husband. Curtis’s friends and family believe him to be extremely paranoid and to have a strong distrust of the government. Reportedly, over the past several years, he has been trying to convince politicians that he uncovered a conspiracy to sell body parts on the black market.
According to his attorney, Mr. Curtis maintains his innocence “100 percent.” He did not enter pleas to the two charges against him. If convicted, he could spend up to 15 years in prison.
Alisha Mims is a writer and researcher for Ring of Fire.