Letters Sent to Pentagon Contained Castor Seeds, Not Ricin

A view of Pentagon with the Washington Monument in the background

A view of Pentagon with the Washington Monument in the background

Department of Defense personnel screen mail as it arrives at a US government facility in Washington, D.C., earlier this week after letters received at the Pentagon were suspected of containing deadly ricin.

William Clyde Allen III of Logan, Utah, was arrested by agents with the Salt Lake City Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He joined the Navy in 1998 and left in 2002.

That same year, a woman filed a protective order against him in a separate case.

In 2008, he pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated assault and served about 2 ½ years in prison, authorities said.

Neither envelope entered the Pentagon.

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Similar packages were discovered on Tuesday at the Texas office of Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and at the White House, addressed to President Donald Trump. The agency did not disclose any details about what was in the envelope or where it was received. The White House had no comment.

One of the letters was addressed to US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, and the Pentagon said on Tuesday it had put its mail facility under quarantine.

Neither Mattis, who is now in Brussels, nor Richardson, the chief of naval operations, were endangered, the official said.

The letters never reached the Pentagon building, said Chris Sherwood, a Defense Department spokesman. The FBI is now investigating the packages to confirm if the naturally occurring poison was indeed sent in the mail.

All US Postal Service mail received at the Pentagon mail screening facility on Monday is now under quarantine and poses no threat to Pentagon personnel, according to Pentagon spokesperson Col. Rob Manning. No Pentagon personnel were endangered. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if it is made into a partially purified material or refined, ricin can be used as a weapon capable of causing death under certain circumstances.

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