Seven in hospital after deadly 'terror' poison found at Las Vegas motel

Last updated at 14:37 29 February 2008

Seven people have been taken to hospital after the deadly toxin ricin was found in a Las vegas motel room, it emerged today.

The terror scare was sparked after a guest found a "suspicious package" yesterday and handed the lethal agent to the hotel manager.

Three hotel employees and a the guest, who came to the room to retrieve some items, were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Three police officers who went into the room are also being watched at the hospital.

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Scene: The ricin was found by a guest in a room at the Extended Stay motel in Las Vegas

None of the seven have shown symptoms of ricin poisoning, which can include anything from difficulty breathing, fever, cough, nausea and sweating to severe vomiting and dehydration.

Police today confirmed the substance found at the Extended Stay America hotel at around 3pm was the deadly agent which can be made at home.

"It's "100 percent ricin," said Captain Joe Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

"We don't know who it belongs to or why it would be here at this time.

"We did have enough ricin to be of concern," Lombardo said. "At this point, it has been contained and processed where it's not a threat to anybody." Watch police discuss ricin discovery »

Lombardo said the "area of concern" is under quarantine and is going through a decontamination process. All seven people have been decontaminated.

Police said they don't know how many people have stayed in the room recently.

The discovery of ricin alarms law-enforcement agencies because authorities in several countries have investigated links between suspect extremists and ricin.

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