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Ark-La-Tex In-Depth: FBI in the Heartland - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Ark-La-Tex In-Depth: FBI in the Heartland

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New Boston, Texas -

After the bombing in Boston and then two cases of poison-laced letters being sent to lawmakers, it seems like domestic terrorism is a growing threat.
    
In the cases involving ricin, FBI agents pulled together all their resources and descended on two Southern cities to investigate.
    
First, it was a Mississippi man suspected of sending poison-laced letters to President Barack Obama and other officials.
    
James Everett Dutschke, 41, has pleaded not guilty to a 5-count indictment charging him with developing, producing and stockpiling poisonous ricin.
    
Dutschke was the second suspect, as authorities later learned he may have been trying to frame another man whom he had known and feuded with.

"Everyone has something suspicious in their house, but no there is nothing related to these letters," said Dutschke.

Within months, FBI agents were onto another odd case, again involving ricin and again a potential instance of someone using a terroristic act to try and frame another.
    
Agents descended on another small southern town, this time in the East Texas community of New Boston.
    
Shannon Richardson is accused of sending threatening letters to President Obama, the New York Mayor and the Mayor's gun control advocacy group.
    
Along with public concerns following the Boston marathon bombing, the year has seen sharp differences over gun control efforts that will continue to be an issue in congressional election campaigns.
    
The US Postal Inspection Service was first to track down the general origin of where the letters were mailed, through the Shreveport office.  

Richardson's marital troubles may have been the backdrop for an accusation that she tried to implicate her husband, Nathan, who has since filed for divorce.  

"I had theories she wanted to get her face out there and destroy me," said Nathan Richardson.

FBI officials say terrorism is their number one priority and they rely heavily on other agencies to help them track, prevent and arrest perpetrators.
    
Since the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., the FBI has combined their efforts with other agencies to develop time-tested investigative techniques such as the use of surveillance and informants.  
    
Taking on the lead role, FBI officials say they're in constant communication with local, state and federal partners.
    
The FBI has also developed a Hazardous Evidence Analysis Team or HEAT to investigate domestic terrorism.
    
All of their evidence is processed in an FBI laboratory at Quantico, Virginia.
    
While purchasing and producing castor beans is not a federal violation, it is a felony to purchase or produce toxic ricin.     
    
Shannon Richardson has not been indicted by a grand jury.
    
A federal judge has ordered she undergo a mental evaluation.

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