The FBI announced they were on the search for a person(s) responsible for mailing ricin in a letter addressed to President Donald Trump. The bureau made this announcement on Sept. 19, 2020.
What is Ricin?
Ricin is a natural poison found in castor beans. If a castor bean is swallowed or chewed, ricin is released. Making ricin takes a process, therefore a person would have to take deliberate actions to make ricin.
The Ricin Package was Intercepted by US Postal Service
Earlier in the week, U.S. Postal services were able to intercept the ricin filled letter. The letter was perceived to have come from Canada, according to the Royal Candian Mounted Police. Preliminary testing of the letter tested positive for ricin.
According to reports, the person who is suspected of sending the letter is female. The woman was arrested when she attempted to enter the U.S. from Canada. Two federal law enforcement officials have confirmed this fact.
One federal officer stated that the woman was crossing the Peace Bridge — this connects Fort Erie, Ontario, and Buffalo, New York — when she was taken into custody by Custom and Border Protection Agents.
The FBI Has Done This Before
In 2013, there were at least two letters found in offsite mail screening facilities. Like the recent letter, these two letters were addressed to the President. The letters were immediately placed into quarantine for further testing.
Upon being placed into quarantine the U.S. Secret Service personnel coordinate an investigation with the FBI. The letters were then scanned through additional testing; and it tested positive.
Any time suspicious materials are found in a mailing facility, field tests are conducted. If at anytime any of the testing finds a possible biological agent; further testing is done.
The testing is then done at an accredited laboratory for proper analysis. These tests can take 24 to 48 hours to complete. This helps eliminates possible terrorist attacks.
The Suspect May Be From Canada
At this time the suspect’s name has not been disclosed. Federal agents are still investigating this situation. More will be updated as information is given.
Written by Sheena Robertson
NBC: Suspect arrested for allegedly sending ricin-tainted letter to White House; Pete Williams
CDC: Facts About Ricin; FBI National Press Office
Associated Press: AP Source: Woman accused of sending ricin letter arrested; Michael Balsamo
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Inline Image Courtesy of Carol VanHook’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License