Lethal find

 
Published: Tuesday 15 April 2003

The French interior ministry has reported that traces of the poison ricin have been detected at a Paris railway station. Sources revealed that two vials containing the deadly poison were found inside a locker at the Gare de Lyon.

Ricin is a potentially lethal toxin found in castor beans. It is 6,000 times more powerful than cyanide and can prove fatal if inhaled or ingested. The poison first became notorious in 1978, when it was used to kill Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov by secret agents in London who fired a ricin-laced pellet from an "umbrella". More recently, police in the UK found a cache of ricin in a London flat in January. The cops had then charged three men with plotting to manufacture chemical weapons.

The find has forced French police to further tighten security, which was already on alert because of the US-led war against Iraq.

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