A woman was arrested on suspicion of sending an envelope to the White House containing ricin poison on Sunday, Sept. 20.
Justice officials told The Associated Press (AP) that the woman was apprehended at the New York-Canada border.
The suspect was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at the Peace Bridge border crossing near Buffalo and is expected to face federal charges.
The letter was intercepted early last week before it reached the White House.
A quick investigation found the prime suspect’s whereabouts, who is currently awaiting a court hearing scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 22. The suspect’s name was withheld for the time being.
According to information provided to AP by judicial officials, the letter to the White House was allegedly sent from Canada. It was intercepted by a government agency that reviews mail addressed to the White House and President Donald Trump.
Ricin laced envelope
A preliminary investigation indicated positive results for ricin, one of the most potent toxins known in the world, found in castor beans. According to experts, exposure to ricin by inhalation, ingestion, or injection can cause death within two or three days.
In the absence of a specific antidote, not much can be done for patients who have contact with ricin poison, other than provide supportive care with measures such as application of serum, some drugs to prevent organ failure, and supplemental oxygen. Efforts have been made to develop ricin vaccines, but none are currently available.
According to The Hill, its first use as a weapon dates back to 1978 when it became known that Bulgarian intelligence agents of Soviet influence developed an injectable device with an umbrella in the murder of journalist and activist Georgi Markov on London’s Waterloo Bridge.
Because it is lethal, as demonstrated in Markov’s murder, ricin was considered a biological weapon in the United States, and terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda began to use it regularly. The Iraqi military also confirmed that it had experimented with ricin.
Because of the easy access to and ease of transportation of ricin seeds, it is a powerful weapon and, above all, significantly more straightforward to develop than other agents also used to commit attacks such as anthrax and tularemia.
The White House has been the target destination of letters with this potent poison previously.
As reported by different media, in 2018, a Utah U.S. Navy veteran was accused of threatening President Donald Trump, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and the FBI director by sending them letters containing ricin.
At that time, the letters were detected before reaching their recipients, and no one was hurt.