Deadly Poison Found in Vegas Motel

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation is working with the Department of Homeland Security to find out who left a substantial amount of the deadly poison ricin in a Las Vegas motel room.

One man is in critical condition and has been in a coma since he was found at the Extended Stay America Motel Thursday.

Seven other people that were also exposed to the toxin were taken to the hospital as a precaution. Lab tests were pending.

Police were called to the motel Thursday and retrieved a package from the motel manager that was determined to be a chemical or controlled substance, Officer Ramon Denby said.

Two preliminary tests indicate it contained ricin, Denby said. Results from further tests by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a second local lab are expected later Friday, he said.

The man who brought the substance to the manager told police he found it in a suite and it did not belong to him, police Capt. Joseph Lombardo said at a news conference Thursday night. The man was not identified by police.

"Ricin has no medical uses other than cancer research," Lombardo said. "An individual citizen other than being involved in cancer research or cancer prevention would not have any legal means or proper means of having that."

"This event does not appear to be terrorism related," FBI spokesman Richard Kolko in Washington said Friday morning. Kolko said the FBI was assisting local police in the investigation.

Ricin is so dangerous that as little as 500 micrograms - an amount about the size of a grain of salt - can kill an adult according to the CDC.

The poison is made from processing castor beans.

Investigators do not think the substance was going to be used in a terrorist attack.

Homeland Security officials joined local police in the investigation. Officials from the FBI, Las Vegas Health District, a hazardous materials team and the National Guard were also at the scene.

Source: Associated Press

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