Authorities have arrested a person suspected of sending the deadly poison ricin in an envelope addressed to the White House, but it was intercepted before it could be delivered, a law enforcement agency said on Sunday.
In response to a Reuters query to confirm media reports that a woman accused of mailing the ricin-contaminated letter was detained at the U.S.-Canadian border, the FBI’s Washington branch issued a statement in which she said, “An arrest has been made of a person allegedly responsible for sending a suspicious letter.”
The statement added, “The investigation is ongoing.”
The law enforcement source, who was familiar with the case but spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that the “suspicious letter” mentioned in the FBI statement was the same one in which the envelope contained ricin.
The source also said the person arrested was a woman with a Canadian nationality.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Saturday that they had received a request from the FBI for assistance in the investigation and that the suspicious letter in question appeared to have been sent from Canada.
The RCMP said that an FBI analysis of a substance in the casing found “the presence of ricin,” a highly toxic compound found in castor beans.
While the toxin occurs naturally, it requires some deliberate act to convert it into a biological weapon, exposing it to an amount as small as the head of a pin that can be fatal in 36 to 72 hours. There is no known antidote.
The FBI was initially asked about the incident on Saturday and said it had joined US intelligence and postal inspection services to “investigate a suspicious letter received at a US government postal facility.”
The envelope was intercepted at a US government mail center before it could be delivered to the White House.
The Secret Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police declined to comment on Sunday.
In recent years there have been numerous incidents involving envelopes mailed to US officials with ricin.
In 2018, a Utah man was charged with linking President Donald Trump, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and other federal officials with ricin. All letters contained “castor material”.
Two people were convicted and sentenced to prison for sending letters contaminated with ricin to Barack Obama during his tenure as President.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)