Officials have located the person believed to be behind the suspicious packages sent to the Pentagon, White House, and Sen. Ted Cruz’s office this week.
One of the envelopes sent to the Pentagon contained a return address belonging to a former sailor who has not yet been identified, investigators told Fox News on Wednesday.
A former Navy sailor is responsible for two suspicious packages that were discovered at a Pentagon mail processing facility on Tuesday, according to Fox News. https://t.co/EZO1VqWxfN pic.twitter.com/btajX4jLID
— FOX 10 Phoenix (@FOX10Phoenix) October 3, 2018
On Tuesday, officials revealed that two suspicious envelopes had been identified by the mail screening center on the Pentagon campus. The items never entered the Pentagon, but were addressed to Defense Secretary James Mattis and to Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson. Officials initially said the items tested positive for ricin.
Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White told reporters that the substance was ultimately identified as castor seeds – the seeds from which ricin is derived – and not ricin itself.
Pentagon officials notified the White House, which led the Secret Service to discover a third envelope addressed to President Trump in the incoming White House mail. The Secret Service said the envelope “was not received at the White House, nor did it ever enter the White House.” The agency said they were working with other authorities to investigate the incident.
BREAKING: U.S. officials say return address on one of envelopes mailed to Pentagon lead authorities to suspect former U.S. Navy sailor responsible. Tip from U.S. Secret Service to Pentagon Monday led to discovery hours later of 2 packages sent to Mattis and Navy’s top admiral
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) October 3, 2018
“On Monday, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency detected a suspicious substance during mail screening at the Pentagon’s remote screening facility,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning told Fox News. “All USPS mail received at the Pentagon mail screening facility yesterday is currently under quarantine and poses no threat to Pentagon personnel.”
The envelopes were taken by the FBI for further analysis.
“On Tuesday, October, 2, 2018, in coordination with the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, FBI Special Agents took possession of two suspicious envelopes that had been screened at the Pentagon mail facility. Those envelopes are currently undergoing further testing,” the FBI said in a statement.
A fourth package arrived at the Houston office of Sen. Ted Cruz. Two people exposed to an unknown “white powdery substance” were sent to the hospital as a precaution. Tests later showed that the substance was not hazardous.
At this time, FBI investigators have obtained lab results that indicate there was no hazardous substance at 3200 Southwest Freeway. The investigation into today’s incident is ongoing.
— FBI Houston (@FBIHouston) October 3, 2018
Ricin is a poisonous substance found naturally in castor bean waste after extraction for castor oil. Ingestion of ricin can lead to internal bleeding and organ failure. It has been used in past terror attacks due to its high toxicity, ease of manufacture, and ease of use due to coming in forms from powder to mist.