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UW-Oshkosh student charged in ricin case

Kyle Allen Smith. The 21-year-old University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh student was charged Monday, Nov. 10, 2014 in federal court with possessing the deadly toxin ricin. (AP Photo/Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department)

Kyle Allen Smith (AP Photo/Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department)

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) — A 21-year-old University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh student was charged Monday in federal court with possessing the deadly toxin ricin.

Kyle Allen Smith was arrested Oct. 31 after Oshkosh police closed off a four-block area around the student’s home while they executed a search warrant.

Smith had been held in the Winnebago County Jail while authorities determined whether he would face state or federal charges.

The FBI transferred Smith to federal custody Monday, Oshkosh Northwestern Media reported. Winnebago County District Attorney Christian Gossett said no state criminal charges will be filed.

A search warrant affidavit indicates the investigation began after two UW-Oshkosh professors raised concerns to campus police about Smith after he made statements about extracting the toxic protein from castor beans. The complaint also alleges Smith used his computer to research ricin.

A professor told the student he should consult with a biology professor and Smith said, “They are all interested in life and I am interested in, like, ending it,” according to the affidavit.

Ricin is a powdery substance that can cause respiratory failure if inhaled.

According to court documents, a white powder from a glass vial seized from Smith’s home tested positive for ricin at the National Bioforensics Analysis Center in Fort Detrick, Md.

If found guilty, Smith faces up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. It was unclear whether Smith has an attorney.

Information from: Oshkosh Northwestern Media, http://www.thenorthwestern.com

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