Envelope with deadly poison ricin addressed to White House intercepted


The envelope was intercepted at a government mail center before it arrived at the White House.

An envelope addressed to the White House and intercepted by U.S. authorities contained a substance identified as ricin, a deadly poison that appeared to have been sent from Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said on Saturday.

An RCMP spokesperson confirmed โ€œit has received a request for assistance from the FBI in connection with a suspicious letter sent to the White House.โ€

The RCMP added โ€œthe FBI conducted an analysis on the substance found in the envelope. This report indicated the presence of ricin, a toxic substance.โ€ RCMP said it working with the FBI but declined to discuss further details.

The envelope was intercepted at a government mail center before it arrived at the White House.

Asked about the reports, the FBI said the agency and โ€œU.S. Secret Service and U.S. Postal Inspection Service partners are investigating a suspicious letter received at a U.S. government mail facility. At this time, there is no known threat to public safety.โ€

The White House and U.S. Secret Service declined to comment.

Ricin is found naturally in castor beans but it takes a deliberate act to convert it into a biological weapon. Ricin can cause death within 36 to 72 hours from exposure to an amount as small as a pinhead. No known antidote exists.

There have been numerous incidents involving envelopes mailed with ricin to U.S. officials.

In 2018, a Utah man, William Clyde Allen III, was indicted for making ricin-related threats, including mailing a threat against President Donald Trump and other federal officials including FBI Director Christopher Wray, with all the letters โ€œcontaining castor bean material.โ€ Allen remains in custody.

Two people were convicted in separate incidents of sending ricin-tainted letters to then-President Barack Obama.

In May 2014, a Mississippi man, James Everett Dutschke, was sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to sending letters with the deadly substance to Mr. Obama, as well as a U.S. senator and a state judge.

In July 2014, a Texas actor was sentenced to 18 years for mailing letters containing ricin to Mr. Obama and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

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