A package containing the poison ricin was intercepted by law enforcement this week. The package was intended to be delivered to President Trump.
A preliminary investigation indicated it tested positive for ricin, a poison found naturally in castor beans, the official said.
All mail coming into the White House is sorted and screened at an offsite facility before it ever reaches the White House.
Federal investigators were working to determine where the enveloped originated and who mailed it. The FBI, the Secret Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service were leading the investigation.
In a statement, the FBI said agents were working to investigate “a suspicious letter received at a U.S. government mail facility” and that there is “no known threat to public safety.”
Ricin is produced from the seeds of the castor oil plant. it is a highly toxic compound.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ricin can be made from the waste material left over from processing castor beans. It can be made in the form of a powder, a mist, or a pellet, or it can be dissolved in water or weak acid.
“If castor beans are chewed and swallowed, the released ricin can cause injury,” CDC officials said.
This is not the first time a package containing the poison has been seized by authorities.
A Navy veteran was arrested in 2018 and confessed to sending envelopes to Trump and members of his administration that contained the substance from which ricin is derived.
Authorities said the man, William Clyde Allen III, sent the envelopes with ground castor beans to the president, FBI Director Christopher Wray, along with then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, then-CIA Director Gina Haspel, Adm. John Richardson, who at the time was the Navy’s top officer, and then-Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson. The letters were intercepted, and no one was hurt.
In 2014, a Mississippi man was sentenced to 25 years in prison after sending letters dusted with ricin to President Barack Obama and other officials.
The Associated Press contributed to this story
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