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Letter containing ricin sent to White House may have come from Canada: RCMP

Last Updated Sep 19, 2020 at 9:45 pm EST

FILE - In this Sept. 25, 2019, file photo, The White House is seen from the Ellipse in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

OTTAWA — Canadian law enforcement has been called in to help the FBI investigate after American authorities found that an envelope addressed to the White House contained the poison ricin.

“Initial information from the investigation suggests that the letter originated in Canada,” RCMP spokesman Dan Brien said in an email on Saturday.

The letter was intercepted at a government facility that screens mail addressed to the White House and President Donald Trump, an American law enforcement official told the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the matter.

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.”

Brien said an analysis found that the letter contained ricin, a toxic substance found naturally in castor beans.

He said the investigation is ongoing so he is not able to share more information at this point.

The FBI, the Secret Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service were leading the investigation. They’re working to figure out who mailed the letter and where exactly it came from.

A U.S. 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-Defence 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.