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Deadly poison ricin delivered in two packages to the Pentagon

The packages were addressed to Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and the head of the Navy.

One was addressed to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis
One was addressed to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis
Image: Susan Walsh/PA Images

TWO OR MORE packages delivered to the Pentagon this week were suspected to contain the deadly poison ricin, an official said today.

Defense Department spokesman Chris Sherwood said at least two suspicious packages were intercepted at a nearby screening center yesterday.

“As part of the screening process, (authorities) recognised some suspicious packages,” Sherwood said, noting they were “suspected to be ricin”.

He stressed that authorities were still waiting for confirmation that the packages contained ricin. Pentagon police referred the matter to the FBI for investigation.

A defence official told AFP the packages were addressed to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Navy head Admiral John Richardson.

“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.

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Pentagon spokesman Colonel Rob Manning said all mail received at the Pentagon’s screening facility yesterday was “placed under quarantine and poses no threat to Pentagon personnel”.

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

© – AFP 2018

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