The Secret Service announced late on Tuesday that it had intercepted a “suspicious” envelope addressed to President Trump on Monday, which CNN reports may have contained ricin, a deadly poison made from castor beans.
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.
On Tuesday, Pentagon officials confirmed that two other packages addressed to Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, tested positive for ricin in preliminary tests. Two people were also hospitalized in Houston after coming into contact with a “white powdery substance” at Ted Cruz’s campaign headquarters, which the Houston Fire Department said eventually tested negative for any hazardous material.
The two packages at the Pentagon likely contained ricin, but the envelope addressed to the president, right now, is only “suspected” to have contained it, according to CNN’s source. Regardless, none of the packages made it anywhere near their intended recipients.
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.
According to the Pentagon, the two packages sent to Mattis and Richardson have already been taken by the FBI for analysis, and also didn’t even enter the building.
The envelopes were flagged for investigation Monday at a mail screening site near the Pentagon, Col. Rob Manning said in statement, and “were taken by the FBI this morning for further analysis.”
“All USPS mail received at the Pentagon mail screening facility yesterday is currently under quarantine and poses no threat to Pentagon personnel,” Manning said.
Getty has some pretty dramatic pictures of Pentagon mail room workers scanning packages in Hazmat suits after the scare earlier today, though Pentagon beat reporter Elizabeth McLaughlin said they’re required to wear the suits every day for precisely this reason.
The current situation is similar to a 2013 scare when several envelopes that tested positive for ricin were sent to President Obama, Republican Senator Roger Wicker Sadie Holland, a judge in Lee County, Mississippi, allegedly by a Mississippi Elvis impersonator named Paul Kevin Curtis.
Ricin is a common poison in mail scares because it’s both extremely deadly and relatively simple to make from common ingredients.