German police search apartments for ricin in anti-terror raids

June 15 (UPI) — Police in Cologne, Germany, searched several apartments in a high-rise complex Friday after finding ricin earlier this week.

Authorities found the highly toxic substance in the apartment of Sief Allah H, a 29-year-old Tunisian man, on Tuesday. He is suspected of planning a biological terror attack. There was enough ricin found for up to 1,000 toxic doses.

Ricin is 6,000 times more powerful than cyanide and can cause organ failure and death within 36 to 48 hours.

The substance can take the form of a powder, a mist, pellet or can be dissolved in water. There is no known antidote.

German police believe the man may have stored more ricin in empty apartments in the same building and searched the area with assistance from the Robert Koch Institute, a German agency responsible for monitoring public health as well as diseases and infections.

The man bought over 1,000 castor seeds, which ricin can be made from, and an electric coffee grinder on the Internet.

Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, said the organization was tipped off about the suspect purchasing the seeds.

“It’s very likely a terrorist attack was possibly thwarted,” Maassen said.

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