Everett Dutschke from Mississippi has been arrested and charged in connection with the sending of letters containing ricin to President Barack Obama, Senator Roger Wicker and Judge Sadie Holland.
Everett Dutschke, 41, was detained at home in Tupelo on Saturday and handed over to US Marshals, police said.
He has been charged with possessing a biological agent with intent to use as a weapon.
Everett Dutschke has links to Paul Kevin Curtis, the man against whom charges were filed and later dropped, as well as the senator and judge.
Ricin is a naturally occurring protein, found in the castor oil plant, which is highly toxic. It is 6,000 times more poisonous than cyanide.
Tupelo Police Chief Tony Carleton said Everett Dutschke was taken into custody without incident at 01:00 on Saturday. His home had been under surveillance since Friday afternoon.
A law enforcement official told WTVA that Everett Dutschke was being held at the Lafayette County Detention Center.
The US Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Mississippi said in a press release that Everett Dutschke had been charged with developing, producing and possessing “a biological agent, toxin and delivery system for use as a weapon, to wit: ricin”.
If convicted of the federal charge, he faces a maximum life term in jail and a $250,000 fine.
The office said Everett Dutschke was expected to appear in a district court in Mississippi on Monday.
Agents from the FBI and the US Capitol Police, as well as members of an anti-terrorist response team from the Mississippi National Guard, had searched Everett Dutschke’s home on Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as the premises of a former martial arts studio he ran in Tupelo.
Attention turned to Everett Dutschke after charges were dropped on Tuesday against Paul Kevin Curtis, a local Elvis impersonator.
A search of Paul Kevin Curtis’ home in nearby Corinth revealed no evidence to suggest he had sent the ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama, Senator Roger Wicker and Mississippi Judge Sadie Holland, officials said.
Hal Neilson, a lawyer for Paul Kevin Curtis, said Everett Dutschke’s name had been submitted on a list of people who might have had a reason to hurt his client.
Paul Kevin Curtis said he had worked with Everett Dutschke several years ago, and that they had discussed publishing a book called Missing Pieces, about an alleged conspiracy to sell body parts on the black market. Everett Dutschke decided not to publish the material, Paul Kevin Curtis added.
But Everett Dutschke told the Associated Press that he did not know Paul Kevin Curtis well, and that the last time they had contact was in 2010.
Judge Sadie Holland’s family is reported to have confronted Everett Dutschke at a political rally in the town of Verona in 2007, when he ran as a Republican against her son, Steve Holland, a Democratic state representative. Steve Holland said Everett Dutschke had made a derogatory speech about the Holland family, and that his mother had forced him to apologize.
Everett Dutschke said Steve Holland had exaggerated the incident, telling AP: “Everybody loves Sadie, including me.”
He is also reported to know Senator Roger Wicker.