CNN Explains: Ricin

CNN's Tom Foreman gets down to the bottom of the toxin ricin and how it affects the body.

Posted: Oct 3, 2018 2:52 PM
Updated: Oct 3, 2018 2:54 PM

An envelope addressed to President Donald Trump contained a substance suspected to be ricin and appeared to be connected to similar envelopes sent to the Pentagon, a law enforcement source told CNN.

Two pieces of mail delivered to the Pentagon mail facility on Monday have initially tested positive for ricin, according to a US defense official.

When asked about the letters sent to the Pentagon, a Secret Service spokesman told CNN that "the Secret Service can confirm receipt of a suspicious envelope addressed to the President on Oct. 1, 2018."

"The envelope was not received at the White House, nor did it ever enter the White House," the spokesman continued.

The two suspicious envelopes sent to the Pentagon were addressed to Secretary of Defense James Mattis and to chief of naval operations, Adm. John Richardson, the official told CNN.

The mail facility is in a separate building on the grounds of the Pentagon, and the two pieces of mail that tested positive never entered the Pentagon building.

All US Postal Service mail received at the Pentagon mail screening facility on Monday is currently under quarantine and poses no threat to Pentagon personnel, according to Pentagon spokesperson Col. Rob Manning.

"On Monday, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency detected a suspicious substance during mail screening at the Pentagon's remote screening facility," Manning said in a statement.

"The envelopes were taken by the FBI this morning for further analysis," Manning added.

The FBI issued a statement saying it has taken possession of two suspicious envelopes screened at the Pentagon mail facility and they are undergoing more testing.

"On Tuesday, October, 2, 2018, in coordination with the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, 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. As this is ongoing, we will have no further comment."

The Secret Service spokesman said the agency was working with law enforcement partners to investigate the envelopes addressed to Trump and that all threats directed toward a Secret Service protectee "are treated seriously and fully investigated."

Ricin is a highly toxic compound that is extracted from castor beans and has been used in terror plots. It can be used in powder, pellet, mist or acid form.

If ingested, it causes nausea, vomiting and internal bleeding of the stomach and intestines, followed by failure of the liver, spleen and kidneys, and death by collapse of the circulatory system.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2750327

Reported Deaths: 57643
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings35124610979
Queens32804610423
Suffolk2574083694
Nassau2276543336
Bronx2139066811
New York1776774667
Westchester1487652356
Erie1266112064
Monroe989361257
Richmond932281974
Orange62677944
Onondaga60114819
Rockland55730783
Dutchess38218513
Albany34764416
Oneida33606647
Niagara29218421
Broome28549436
Saratoga25167228
Schenectady19569245
Ulster19260293
Rensselaer17633195
Chautauqua15247197
Oswego14409135
Putnam13249101
St. Lawrence13072144
Chemung13004176
Steuben12713193
Ontario11866119
Jefferson11567108
Wayne10448105
Cattaraugus10176163
Cayuga9850113
Sullivan975690
Genesee8795145
Herkimer8477143
Clinton821848
Fulton7939115
Madison7504109
Tompkins750161
Warren748896
Livingston732777
Montgomery7287162
Washington684180
Tioga645573
Cortland613489
Allegany6080122
Columbia5782115
Chenango562897
Orleans561796
Franklin552426
Otsego546666
Wyoming540367
Greene500190
Delaware450552
Lewis426040
Seneca331168
Essex303538
Schoharie274624
Yates202334
Schuyler197720
Hamilton5193
Unassigned1452
Out of NY0340
Utica
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 30°
Oneonta
Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 29°
Herkimer
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 30°
Old Forge
Partly Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 13°
Feels Like: 30°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
2022 WKTV Golf Card only $99.99
Game Day Deals - New Deals Each Week
Stuff the Bus Locations
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve