Military veteran charged with attempting to make ricin to remain jailed

Apr 26, 2024, 1:54 PM

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A judge on Friday ordered a Marine Corps veteran and former militia member to remain jailed pending trial on charges he attempted to make ricin, a biological toxin.

Russell Vane, 42, of Vienna, Virginia, was arrested two weeks ago after authorities searched his house and found traces of ricin along with lab equipment and castor beans, from which ricin is derived, in a laundry room in a home he shares with his wife and two young children, according to court papers.

Vane came to authorities’ attention after an online news outlet, News2Share, reported that the Virginia Kekoas militia had severed ties with Vane because they were alarmed by what they considered his loose talk about homemade explosives.

The Kekoas questioned whether he might be a government informant, according to court papers.

The news account prompted a federal investigation and a search of Vane’s northern Virginia home. He was arrested after agents found a plastic bag with castor beans along with a handwritten recipe for extracting ricin from the beans, according to an FBI affidavit.

Subsequent tests confirmed the presence of ricin, according to court records. Also found in Vane’s home was an “Apocalypse Checklist” outlining the necessary steps for quickly evacuating a home with necessary provisions.

At a detention hearing Friday in U.S. District Court, public defender Geremy Kamens said the government “has wildly overcharged this offense” — which carries a possible life sentence — and urged Vane’s release on home confinement pending trial.

Kamens said there is no evidence Vane had threatened anyone. He said that it is virtually impossible for someone to manufacture ricin at home in a way for it to be used as a lethal weapon.

But U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga sided with prosecutors who said that Vane is a potential danger to the community and should remain locked up.

The judge said that regardless of the homemade poison’s toxicity, he could not think of any innocuous reason for Vane to be trying to manufacture it.

Trenga also questioned whether Vane might pose a flight risk; the government introduced evidence that Vane recently tried to legally change his name in Fairfax County court and that he posted a fake online obituary of himself.

Vane’s lawyer suggested the name change and fake obituary were an effort to distance himself from his connections to the militia.

United States News

Associated Press

Jury in Trump’s hush money case to begin deliberations after hearing instructions from judge

NEW YORK (AP) — Jurors in Donald Trump’s hush money trial are expected to begin deliberations Wednesday after receiving instructions from the judge on the law and the factors they may consider as they strive to reach a verdict in the first criminal case against a former American president. The deliberations follow a marathon day […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Appeals court won’t halt upcoming Alabama execution

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Tuesday declined to halt the upcoming execution of an Alabama man convicted in the beating deaths of an elderly couple during a 2004 robbery. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied two separate requests for an execution stay for Jamie Ray Mills, 50. Mills is […]

4 hours ago

Donald Trump speaks to the media as he arrives to court during his trial for allegedly covering up ...

Associated Press

Trump prosecutor focuses on ‘cover-up’ in closing arguments while defense attacks key witness

Donald Trump engaged in “a conspiracy and a cover-up,” a prosecutor told jurors during closing arguments Tuesday in the former president's hush money trial.

5 hours ago

Associated Press

A driver with an Oregon-based medical care nonprofit is fatally shot in Ethiopia while in a convoy

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A staff member with an Oregon medical care nonprofit was killed when the team he was traveling with in a convoy was fired upon in Ethiopia, officials said Monday. Mustefa Alkisim was a Medical Teams International driver traveling in the insecure Amhara region of Ethiopia Friday when men fired at the […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

European-Japanese climate research satellite launched from California aboard SpaceX rocket

VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) — A European-Japanese climate research satellite designed to study Earth’s temperature balance was launched into orbit from California on Tuesday. The EarthCARE satellite lifted off from coastal Vandenberg Space Force Base atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 3:20 p.m. The satellite was successfully deployed about 10 minutes later, […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Former California water official pleads guilty to conspiring to steal water from irrigation canal

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A former California water official has pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal water in a deal with federal prosecutors in the state’s crop-rich Central Valley. The Los Angeles Times reports Tuesday that 78-year-old Dennis Falaschi, who used to head the Panoche Water District, entered the plea in federal court in Fresno. […]

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.



Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Military veteran charged with attempting to make ricin to remain jailed