Poison-laced letter sent to White House intercepted

Reuters
An envelope sent to the White House and intercepted by US authorities contained a substance identified as ricin, a deadly poison that appeared to be from Canada.
Reuters
Poison-laced letter sent to White House intercepted
AFP

In this file photo taken on October 2, 2018 US Defense Department personnel screen mail as it arrives at a US government facility near the Pentagon in Washington, DC.

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

An RCMP spokesman confirmed “it has received a request for assistance from the FBI in connection with a suspicious letter sent to the White House.”

“The FBI conducted an analysis on the substance found in the envelope. This report indicated the presence of ricin, a toxic substance.” RCMP said it is 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 “US Secret Service and US Postal Inspection Service partners are investigating a suspicious letter received at a US government mail facility. At this time, there is no known threat to public safety.” The White House and Secret Service declined to comment.

Ricin is found in castor beans but it takes a deliberate act to convert it. Ricin can cause death within 36 to 72 hours from exposure to an amount as small as a pinhead. There is no antidote.

There have been several incidents involving envelopes mailed with ricin to US officials.

In 2018, a Utah man was indicted for making ricin-related threats, including mailing a threat against US President Donald Trump and other federal officials. He remains in custody. Two people were convicted in separate incidents of sending ricin-tainted letters to then president Barack Obama.

In 2014, a Mississippi man was jailed for 25 years for sending letters with the deadly substance to Obama, a US senator and a state judge.

In 2014, a Texas actor was jailed 18 years for mailing letters to Obama and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

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