Published: Wed, October 03, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

Ricin Poison Detected in Packages Sent to Pentagon

Ricin Poison Detected in Packages Sent to Pentagon

A Pentagon spokesman said tests for two suspicious letters addressed to Defense Secretary James Mattis and John Richardson, chief of naval operations, were positive for ricin.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the envelopes are undergoing additional tests. The mail initially caused suspicions because it contained a sticky substance, per a defense official.

Ricin is a poison that is released from castor beans if the beans are crushed; it can also be derived from the waste products left after castor bean processing to make castor oil.

Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesperson, said that the mail facility is on Pentagon grounds, but is not housed in the main building, where the offices of the defense secretary are located.

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Neither envelope entered the Pentagon.

In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the Pentagon built a massive underground remote processing facility on the west side of the building to screen all deliveries, including mail, into the building.

A spokesman said the suspicious packages were addressed to someone in the Pentagon, the headquarters of the US Department of Defence, in Washington DC.

The facility is now under quarantine, defence officials said on Tuesday.

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Unintentional exposure to the substance, the government says, is virtually impossible.

Two years later, a MS man sent letters containing ricin to President Barack Obama and a Republican senator in an elaborate attempt to frame a rival.

Notable Ricin poisonings include the deadly poisoning of Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian writer and journalist who was living in London in 1978.

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