Morganton man charged in ricin scare
A Morganton man who came to Fannin Regional Hospital and told emergency room personnel he had ricin on his hands has been arrested, and a full-fledged investigation by state and federal authorities is underway.
William Christopher Gibbs, 27, of 109 Hideaway Road, was initially charged by the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office with reckless conduct and probation violation. The FBI has taken control of the case, according to a sheriff’s office release.
Ricin is a highly toxic poison that can be extracted from castor beans.
Authorities were quick to point out it did not appear the ricin was widely dispersed.
Sheriff Dane Kirby said ricin was found in Gibbs’ Lincoln Town Car that was driven to the hospital on Feb. 2. Fannin authorities contacted the Cherokee County Fire Department, who brought their hazardous materials squad to the scene, and the 4th Weapons of Destruction Civil Support Team of the Army National Guard also responded, the release states.
Kirby told The News Observer in Blue Ridge he anticipates federal charges to be filed. The newspaper reported Gibbs remains in the Fannin jail due to his probation violation.