Deadly poison ricin reportedly detected in mail sent to the Pentagon

  • Mail delivered to the Pentagon has reportedly tested positive for ricin, a potentially deadly poison.
  • The mail never actually entered the Pentagon but was delivered to a separate building.
  • The packages were reportedly addressed to Secretary of Defence James Mattis and Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson.
  • The FBI is spearheading an investigation into where the mail came from.
  • The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention defines ricin as a “poison found naturally in castor beans.”

Mail delivered to the Pentagon tested positive for ricin, a potentially deadly poison, according to a CNN report.

The mail never actually entered the Pentagon but was delivered to a separate building – a mail processing system on its grounds, a Department of Defence spokesman told Business Insider on Tuesday.

The FBI is taking the lead on testing the mail and on conducting the overall investigation into where it came from.

“On Monday, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency detected a suspicious substance during mail screening at the Pentagon’s remote screening facility,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning told Business Insider. “The envelopes were taken by the FBI this morning for further analysis.”

“All USPS mail received at the Pentagon mail screening facility yesterday is currently under quarantine and poses no threat to Pentagon personnel,” Manning added.

At least two packages delivered to the Pentagon are suspected to contain ricin, and they were addressed to Secretary of Defence James Mattis and Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson, CNN reports.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines ricin as “a poison found naturally in castor beans.”

“If made into a partially purified material or refined into a terrorist or warfare agent, ricin could be used to expose people through the air, food, or water,” the CDC says on its website. “Death from ricin poisoning could take place within 36 to 72 hours of exposure, depending on the route of exposure (inhalation, ingestion, or injection) and the dose received.”

Ricin has been used in terror plots.

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