Guilty: 21-year-old Kyle Smith, accused of extracting ricin in his Oshkosh home reaches plea deal

OSHKOSH (WITI) -- United States Attorney James Santelle of the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced Thursday, March 12th that 21-year-old Kyle Allen Smith of Oshkosh has entered a guilty plea to a possession of ricin charge.

Kyle Smith (Winnebago County Jail)

According to the plea agreement, Smith admitted to growing castor bean plants and extracting ricin from the beans.

A substance found in Smith’s residence was sent to the Department of Homeland Security, National Bioforensics Analysis Center at Fort Detrick, Maryland, and tested positive for the toxin ricin.

Ricin is a toxin that infects human cells and blocks their ability to synthesize their own protein. Small doses of ricin may be lethal to human beings if ingested, inhaled, or injected. Symptoms of ricin poisoning can include difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, with possible death occurring within 36 to 72 hours. According to information posted on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are no known antidotes for ricin poisoning.

Smith admitted having homicidal thoughts and that his homicidal thoughts might have sparked his curiosity about the production of ricin. He stated he would not use or test the ricin on any human because too many people knew what he was doing and would turn him in.

Smith was arrested on October 31st, 2014, after two professors at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh reported to campus authorities that Smith was making unusual inquiries about chemical processes, including extracting ribosomal inhibiting proteins.

The case was investigated by the Oshkosh Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Smith faces a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment and fine of $250,000.

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