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Reports: Woman suspected of mailing ricin to Trump arrested at US/Canadian border

CBP Florida (CBP Florida/Twitter)
September 21, 2020

A woman suspected of sending deadly ricin poison in a letter addressed to President Donald Trump has been arrested at the U.S./Canadian border, according to law enforcement officials who spoke with the Associated Press and CNN on Sunday.

According to those officials, the woman was carrying a gun when she was arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Peace Bridge border crossing between Buffalo, N.Y. and Ontario, Canada.

The woman’s name has not yet been released.

A spokeswoman for the FBI’s Washington Field Office also confirmed to CNN that an arrest was made and that the investigation remains ongoing.

Mary-Liz Power, the chief spokeswoman for Canada’s Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair, told CNN that Canadian law enforcement officials are assisting in the investigation.

Power said, “Canadian law enforcement is working closely with their U.S. counterparts. As this is an active investigation we cannot comment further.”

The arrest comes after a letter containing ricin was reportedly intercepted at some point last week at a mail screening center where letters and packages are scanned before being delivered to the White House.

A source familiar with the investigation into the ricin letter said authorities determined the letter was mailed from St. Hubert, Quebec.

Officials told the AP they anticipate federal charges against the woman who was arrested.

Other letters containing ricin were also reportedly sent to federal offices in Texas. Those additional letters may be connected to the same sender.

Ricin is derived from castor beans and even a few granules of the poison can be deadly to an adult. 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 the past to target U.S. politicians and military leaders.

In 2018, a U.S. Navy veteran confessed to mailing envelopes containing ricin to Trump and other members of his administration, including then-Defense Secretary James Mattis and to then-Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson. No one was hurt in connection with that ricin case.

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.