Suspect arrested after suspicious packages sent to Pentagon

Suspect arrested after suspicious packages sent to Pentagon

US mail screen
US Defence Department personnel, wearing protective suits, screen mail as it arrives at a US government facility near the Pentagon in Washington, DC. (Thomas WATKINS/AFP)

WASHINGTON: US police on Wednesday (Oct 3) arrested a suspect after suspicious packages containing castor seeds - from which deadly ricin can be derived - were sent to the Pentagon this week, US media reported.

William Clyde Allen, of Logan, Utah, was in custody and would likely face charges by Friday, KSL TV reported on its website, citing the Justice Department.

The Pentagon's mail screening facility on Monday had intercepted at least two packages - addressed to Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and Navy chief Admiral John Richardson -that authorities suspected to have contained ricin.

READ: Ricin suspected in mail sent to White House, Pentagon

"According to our preliminary analysis, the substance was castor seeds, from which ricin is derived," Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said, noting that the matter was being investigated by the FBI.

All mail at the Pentagon was briefly quarantined when the packages were uncovered. No one was hurt.

The US Secret Service had also reported that it obtained a "suspicious envelope" addressed to President Donald Trump on Monday.

"The envelope was not received at the White House, nor did it ever enter the White House," the Secret Service said.

Produced by processing castor beans, ricin is lethal in minute doses if swallowed, inhaled or injected. It is 6,000 times more potent than cyanide, with no known antidote.

Source: AFP/de