Three letters that are suspected of containing the highly lethal poison ricin were sent to top-level government officials on Monday, including the president of the United States.
Defense Secretary James Mattis and Admiral John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations, were addressed on the two envelopes suspected of containing ricin that were sent to the Pentagon this week. The letters were stopped at the Pentagon Central Processing Center, ABC News reports.
But the same day, the Secret Service stopped an envelope addressed to Donald Trump. It’s not known when or where the letter was intercepted, but it never made it into the White House and the president was never in danger of exposure.
All mail at the Pentagon is now under quarantine, according to a statement from the Department of Defense. The Central Processing Center, where the letters were received, is not attached to the main Pentagon building and the envelopes did not reach their intended targets.
Ricin is highly lethal, and can kill within 36 hours after it is inhaled, ingested, or injected. There is no known antidote. Ricin poisoning is not contagious through person-to-person contact, but it is highly dangerous when directly delivered to its targets.
The two letters sent to the Pentagon did test for ricin under initial examination, according to CNN. They are now being examined and tested more thoroughly by the FBI.
The FBI confirmed taking possession of the letters on Tuesday, but would not comment further.
The letter sent to the White House appears to be connected to the two Pentagon letters. It was addressed directly to Donald Trump.
Ricin has been sent via mail to high-profile political figures in the past. In 2013, more than one letter containing ricin was sent to President Barack Obama, according to the New York Times. Both incidents led to arrest.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), chances of unintentional exposure to ricin are extremely unlikely. Ricin has been a known agent for decades, and recently has been used by terrorists organizations.
Ricin is extracted from castor beans, and even a tiny amount of the poison is highly fatal.
Multiple people have been charged with attempts on the life of Donald Trump, according to Newsweek. A man in Utah was arrested at the beginning of this year for making threats against Trump. In 2017, multiple people were charged with making threats to Trump, including a man in Cincinnati and a truck driver from Michigan.