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Ricin case connected to Riverton home

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Authorities responded to a Riverton home in connection with the investigation into vials of the deadly poison ricin that were found in a Las Vegas motel room.

The FBI confirmed to the Deseret Morning News on Saturday that two people involved in the investigation are from Riverton.

"These guys have a connection to Utah," FBI Special Agent Juan Becerra said Saturday. "The reason we're looking at this residence is that's the lead that was sent to us. There is no public danger at this time. We've been able to isolate that location."

A cadre of authorities responded to a home near 13400 South and 3000 West, but Salt Lake County Sheriff's Lt. Paul Jaroscak declined to comment on the case, referring all questions to the FBI.

"We've been assisting them," he said Saturday. "We'll continue to assist them."

Roger Von Bergendorff, 57, is hospitalized in Las Vegas in intensive care. Vials of ricin were found in his motel room by his cousin, Thomas Tholen, 53. Both men are from Riverton, authorities said.

Police, FBI and U.S. Homeland Security agents were trying to figure out how vials of ricin ended up in Von Bergendorff's motel room a few blocks from the Las Vegas Strip. On Friday, Las Vegas Metro police revealed that guns, an "anarchist-type" textbook and castor beans (from which ricin is made) were found in the room where the poison was discovered.

Police and health officials insist they have found no apparent link to terrorist activity.

In Utah, Becerra insisted that there is no public health threat in Riverton.

"There is no indication of any threat to the public or individuals residing in that area," he said.

Contributing: Associated Press

E-mail: bwinslow@desnews.com