Seattle man is accused of making ricin poison

April 14, 2004|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

SEATTLE - Federal authorities have arrested a 37-year-old Seattle area man they say made ricin in his apartment from mail-order castor seeds.

Robert M. Alberg was charged in federal court Friday with knowingly possessing a biological agent or toxin and was booked into the federal detention center in SeaTac pending indictment, U.S. attorney's spokesman Lawrence Lincoln said Monday.

Alberg's next court appearance is set for tomorrow, when a judge could order him to undergo a mental evaluation, Lincoln said.

The federal complaint doesn't indicate that Alberg had a set plan to release the ricin, and an FBI spokeswoman said no one was at risk. Lincoln declined to speculate on whether Alberg has terrorist ties.

Ricin is considered a deadly toxin, is typically fatal when ingested, has no known antidote and is virtually impossible to trace as a cause of death.

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