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Man Receives Prison Term in Ricin Case

A Massachusetts resident on Monday received a 15-year prison sentence for possession of ricin and for threatening a federal official, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, March 29).

Michael Crooker, 57, admitted in March to illegally possessing ricin, a potential bioterrorism agent that is lethal in very small quantities and has no known antidote.

Crooker has been held since 2004 after he aroused suspicion by using the mail system to send a handmade gun sound suppressor. A search of his apartment revealed the presence of a castor seeds, which are used to generate ricin, as well as seeds that produce the deadly toxin abrin.

U.S. attorneys said Crocker mailed a threatening letter to a federal prosecutor that mentioned deceased Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

Crooker received the highest sentence allowed under the charges plus three years of supervision upon release (Associated Press/Boston Globe, June 20).

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