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Navy Vet Charged with Sending Letters to Trump, FBI in Ricin Scare

FBI and law enforcement officers in hazmat suites prepare to investigate potentially hazardous chemicals in Logan, Utah, October 3, 2018. (George Frey/Reuters)

A U.S. Navy veteran was charged on Friday with threatening to poison President Trump and three other high-ranking government officials by sending them envelopes that were originally feared to contain the biological weapon ricin.

William Clyde Allen III, 39, was arrested Wednesday at his residence in Logan, Utah and confessed to sending letters containing ground castor seeds to Trump, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson, according to court documents filed in Utah state court. The letters were intercepted before they reached the White House, the Secret Service said.

Ricin, which causes death within three days of exposure, comes from castor seeds, but Allen did not convert the seeds to make them a potent poison. The Navy vet, who served from October 1998 to October 2002, told authorities that he wanted to “send a message.” He is being held in jail on $25,000 bond, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said, and could face up to life in prison if found guilty.

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