Las Vegas police arrest man in ricin case

Other News Materials 17 April 2008 00:42 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - The man found comatose in a Las Vegas motel that contained ricin has been arrested on charges carrying a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a 700,000-dollar fine, authorities said Wednesday.

Roger Bergendorff, 57, was charged with with one count of possessing a biological toxin and two counts of possessing unregistered firearms.

He was arrested when he was released from a Las Vegas hospital, where he had been placed on life support after complaining of breathing trouble. Authorities found the ricin when a relative of Bergendorff came to clean the room and alerted managers to the presence of unidentified white powder, which was quickly identified as the deadly poison.

The discovery of the ricin sparked off a major scare in Las Vegas but there was little indication why Bergendorff made the substance.

The six-page complaint said he made the ricin while living in his cousin's house in Riverton, Utah. Ricin is made by processing castor beans and its only legal use in for cancer research.