- LAS VEGAS, Nev. (CNN) -- One of the two men arrested for posession of what turned
out to be non-lethal anthrax was released from custody Saturday evening.
- William Leavitt Jr., 47, thanked God,
his family, law enforcement officials, a federal magistrate judge and his
lawyers for getting him out of prison on his own recognizance, saying the
past three days have been the "most difficult days of my life."
- Leavitt and <A HREF="http://www.cnn.com/US/9802/21/anthrax.update.2/harris.jpg">Larry
Wayne Harris</A>, 46, were arrested Wednesday night and charged with
conspiracy to possess and possession of a biological agent.
- Leavitt's release came just hours after
FBI agents raided the microbiologist's home north of Las Vegas in search
of more evidence.
- Pale and appearing on the verge of tears,
Leavitt, a self-described medical researcher, said he has no hard feelings
toward FBI investigators.
- "I understand what happened, and
I understand the position the FBI took based upon the information they
received," Leavitt told the media just after his release from the
Clark County Detention Center.
- "I spent many, many hours in fasting
and in prayer, and wanted the truth (to) be known."
- One stipulation for Leavitt's release
is that he "will not conduct or participate in any biological or biochemical
treatment," according to court documents.
- The FBI acknowledged earlier Saturday
that test results so far show the confiscated anthrax is not the deadly
- "We truly felt, and we feel now,
that we had enough probable cause to believe there was a danger to the
community," FBI agent Bobby Siller told reporters. "We had to
act the way we did."
- Siller, special agent in charge of the
FBI's Las Vegas office, said the arrests of Leavitt and Harris were made
on the basis of information from witnesses, as well as surveillance and
- Residents assured they are not in danger
Before their arrests, Harris and Leavitt had told more than one person
that they had military-grade anthrax and planned to test it at a nearby
medical center, Siller said.
- Siller also reassured Las Vegas residents
they are not in danger.
- "There is no reason for anybody
to be concerned about any contaminants in this area," Siller said.
- U.S. Army experts at Fort Detrick, Maryland,
concluded the substance was not a biological weapon after completing a
series of tests that began Friday morning, sources told CNN. The FBI confirmed
Saturday that the confiscated version is a non-lethal type that veterinarians
- The FBI apparently also seized other
material in Ohio from houses owned by Harris. That material is still being
tested at Fort Detrick, and those tests will not be completed before Monday.
- Police suspect Harris gave 'inoculations'
Saturday, a Columbus, Ohio, police investigator said he believes Harris
regularly gave some people injections that Harris claimed would protect
them against biological agents.
- "It's something we've suspected
and can't divulge our sources, but we think he was giving inoculations,"
Det. Rick Adrian said.
- It was unclear how long Harris offered
the injections, what the shots contained or whether anyone became sick
because of them.
- The FBI affidavit detailing the case
against Harris says he claims to be an officer in the Idaho-based white
separatist group Aryan Nations.
- Mark Potok, a spokesman for the Southern
Poverty Law Center, a national watchdog group that monitors extremist groups,
told The New York Times that Harris traveled around the country, "meeting
with extremist anti-government groups and inoculating them against anthrax."
- Harris was previously given probation
after pleading guilty to illegally obtaining bubonic plague bacteria through
the mail in 1995.