A package containing the deadly poison ricin addressed to President Donald Trump was intercepted by law enforcement sometime this week, before it was delivered to the president, two law enforcement officials told CNN on Saturday. Two law enforcement officials also told CNBC about the ricin package that was addressed to Trump.
According to CNN, two tests were performed on the package, to confirm the presence of the deadly ricin poison, and the FBI, U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Postal Inspection Service are investigating the matter.
All mail addressed to the White House is sorted and screened at an off-site facility separate from the White House as a security precaution.
“The FBI and our U.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,” the FBI’s Washington field office said in a statement on Twitter.
#FBIStatement: “The FBI and our U.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.” pic.twitter.com/jsBMIsDHbt
— FBI Washington Field (@FBIWFO) September 19, 2020
The New York Times, citing another unnamed official involved in the investigation, reported investigators believe the letters were sent from Canada, and investigators have identified a woman as a potential suspect.
The Times also reported letters containing were sent to federal offices in Texas. Law enforcement officials did not say how many letters containing ricin they have recovered.
Ricin is derived from castor beans and even a few granules of the poison can be deadly to an adult, according to The Daily Mail. Ricin can be made into a powder, pellet, mist or acid form.
Those poisoned with ricin experience nausea, vomiting and internal bleeding in their stomach and intestines, as well as failure to their kidneys, liver and spleen and then a shutdown of their circulatory system, resulting in death.
The poison has been used in past terror plots, including through mailed packages to American politicians and military leaders.
In October of 2018, ricin particles were detected in mail sent to the Pentagon, addressed to then-Defense Secretary James Mattis and to then-Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson.
In 2014, Walking Dead actress Shannon Richardson was convicted of sending envelopes with ricin in them to then-President Barack Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. She is now serving an 18-year prison sentence for the ricin plot.