Joint Terrorism Task Force Investigating Cyanide, Dead Man Found In Denver Hotel Room

Interesting Perspective from the folks at Wizbang Blog

Let’s play connect the dots: start with a Somali Muslim living in Canada. Then have him travel to the city that in just a few days will be hosting the Democratic National Convention. Then have him die in a hotel room. Finally, have police search the room and find a POUND of cyanide — enough poison to kill a couple hundred people, if distributed and delivered properly.

Some lone nut? I’m not so sure. I did some checking, and the Burnsley Hotel — where Saleman Abdirahman Dirie died is NOT a cheap hotel. I just checked online, and rooms start at $199 a night. Mr. Dirie was in that room, dead, for six days before his body was found, so there’s about $1200 sunk into just rent. Toss in transportation and acquiring the cyanide and other expenses, and this was obviously no impulsive, fly-by-night operation.

The FBI says there’s no apparent connection to terrorism, but I’m not buying it.

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UPDATE: An autopsy is now complete on a 29-year-old Ottawa man found dead in a Denver hotel room on Monday.

Although Denver police haven’t yet said how Saleman Abdirahman Dirie died, authorities told reporters they found one pound of sodium cyanide near his body.The pound of sodium cyanide found in a hotel room Monday is potent enough to have killed close to 1,000 people, according to an expert in deadly chemicals and counter-terrorism.

“You have a suspicious substance that was found in a hotel room in conjunction with a person being a foreign national, and we have a lot of questions and that is why we are assisting,” said Denver FBI spokeswoman Kathy Wright. Authorities were trying to determine why Dirie, 29, was in Denver and how and when he got into the United States.

“There is not necessarily more of a concern, but it is something we are aware of and how close the DNC is,” Wright said. “We want to make sure we do everything we can to find out the unknown.”

And they should be, according to Dr. Andrew Ternay, a chemist at the University of Denver and the director of the Rocky Mountain Center for Homeland Defense.

“A pound of cyanide would kill hundreds of people,” Ternay said. “It depends on, do you breathe it in? Does it get on your skin? That makes all the difference in the world. Sitting in a bag, it does nothing. But if you get it on your skin, it’ll go through the pores of your skin and kill you.”
Police say it appears Dirie was dead for several days before his body was found in room 408 of the Burnsley Hotel in downtown Denver, located about four blocks from the State Capitol.

The FBI and the U.S. government’s anti-terrorism agency are assisting in the investigation.

“Our joint services task force is involved in this simply because the victim here is from another country and it just kind of makes sense that our terrorism guys take a look at this,” FBI special agent James Davis told the local CBS News television station in Denver.

Ottawa’s Somali community in shock

Meanwhile, members of Ottawa’s Somali community, which Dirie belonged to, are in shock after learning of his death.

“I don’t know what happened. The community don’t know what happened but I think the community do care. One of their members who travelled to Denver lost his life there,” Abdirizak Karod told CTV Ottawa on Wednesday, adding that Dirie’s family left for Denver immediately after learning of his death.

Police are now waiting on toxicology results to determine how Dirie died and whether cyanide played a role in his death.


Less than two weeks before the Democratic National Convention a man has been found dead in a Denver hotel room with a container of what authorities initially suspect to be the deadly poison cyanide.

Adding to the intrigue is that the dead man, Saleman Abdirahman Dirie, 29, appears to be from outside the U.S. No passport was found on Dirie, who is believed to have entered the country from Canada.

A large container of a white powdery substance was found in the man’s room on the fourth floor of The Burnsley hotel at 10th and Grant.

Tests are now being done by the Denver Police Crime Lab to determine exactly what the substance is. The tests could take days.

It’s believed Dirie died from something other than the substance that was in the container.

Denver police are leading the investigation of the man’s death. The FBI and other governmental agencies, including the Joint Terrorism Task Force, are assisting in the probe. Hazardous materials assistance has included the Colorado State Patrol and the Colorado National Guard.

“Our Joint Terrorism Task Force is involved in this simply because the victim here is from another country and it just kind of makes sense that our terrorism guys would take a look a look at this,” FBI Special Agent in Charge James Davis said.

Davis told CBS 4 that nothing so far has been found to link the case to terrorism or the coming convention.

Authorities said The Burnsley hotel is safe and is open for business.

The investigation is continuing.


Additional Links

Dead Man Found in Denver Hotel with Large Amount of Possible Cyanide

A troubling development in Denver: Man Dead, Large Amount Of Possible Cyanide Found.DENVER (CBS4) — It has the makings of international intrigue. Less than two weeks before the Democratic National Convention a man has been found dead in …

Denver: Man with cyanide stash found dead in hotel

Make that ‘apparent’ cyanide. The tests are still out. His name? ‘Saleman Abdirahman Dirie, 29’, and he ‘appears to be from outside the US No passport was found on Dirie, who is believed to have entered the country from Canada.’ Hmmm. …

Dead Man In Denver Found With Large Quantity Of Cyanide

In a Denver, Colorado hotel room, police have found a dead man and a large quantity of what they suspect is Cyanide. The dead man is Saleman Abdirahman Dirie, 29. His nationality is not known. He is believed to have entered the US …

Cyanide death suspected at Denver hotel

Denver Police blocked off streets around a downtown hotel where they are investigating a possible cyanide death. The medical examiner’s office reported a strong odor of cyanide at the Burnsley hotel after a body was found Monday. ..

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