US: Mail delivered to Pentagon tested positive for deadly poison ricin
A Pentagon spokesman says authorities found at least two packages suspected of containing ricin, a poison made from castor beans.
Defense Department spokesman Chris Sherwood said the suspicious packages were addressed to someone in the Pentagon.
The mail facility is in a separate building on the grounds of the Pentagon and the piece of mail which tested positive never entered the main building that includes the offices of the defense secretary.
“As part of the screening process, [authorities] recognized some suspicious packages,” Sherwood said.
He stressed that authorities were still waiting for confirmation that the packages contained ricin.
Ricin is part of the waste “mash” produced when castor oil is made. 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.
Pentagon police referred the matter to the FBI for investigation.
“FBI Special Agents took possession of two suspicious envelopes that had been screened at the Pentagon mail facility. Those envelopes are currently undergoing further testing,” the FBI said in a statement.
All mail received at the Pentagon’s screening facility Monday was “placed under quarantine and poses no threat to Pentagon personnel,” said Pentagon spokesman Colonel Rob Manning.