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Reports: Woman suspected of sending ricin-tainted package to Donald Trump at White House arrested at US-Canada border

  • September 21, 2020
A Secret Service officer mans his post on the roof of the White House is seen on October 29, 2008, in Washington, DC.

A woman suspected of sending a package containing the poison ricin to the White House has been arrested at the U.S.-Canada border in New York, according to authorities.

The package, addressed to President Donald Trump, was intercepted by federal authorities in the past week, a law enforcement official said Saturday. The woman was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Peace Bridge border crossing near Buffalo and is expected to face federal charges, three law enforcement officials told The Associated Press on Sunday.

NBC News also reported the woman’s arrest, citing a federal law enforcement official. Her name was not immediately released.

The FBI, in a brief statement, described the missive as “a suspicious letter received at a U.S. government mail facility.”

“At this time, there is no known threat to public safety,” the FBI said Saturday.

Mail addressed to the White House is screened at an off-site location. The letter’s discovery was first reported by CNN.

Ricin explained:Just how deadly is it, how does it kill?

Ricin, a poison drawn from the husks of castor beans has surfaced in other plots targeting Trump and other officials. According to the Centers for Disease Control, exposure to ricin through inhalation, ingestion or injection can lead to death.

In 2018, a federal grand jury returned a seven-count indictment against a Utah man, alleging that he threatened Trump and other administration officials in letters, some of which contained the natural ingredients used to make ricin. 

In that case, a series of suspicious letter were addressed to Trump, then-Defense Secretary James Mattis, FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and others.

In 2001, following the the 9/11 attacks, another form of bio-terrorism shook the country when letters containing anthrax were sent to congressional and media offices.

Those attacks killed five people and sickened more than a dozen others.

A microbiologist at the Army’s elite infectious disease laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland, Bruce Ivins, committed suicide in 2008, as federal authorities were preparing to charge him in the attacks.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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