Story Summary

Letters containing ricin sent in Spokane

On May 14, the U.S. Postal Service had said earlier that two letters were intercepted — one addressed to the federal courthouse and the other to the main downtown post office — and they contained ricin in a form that did not immediately pose a threat to workers.

The Spokesman-Review said one of the letters was addressed to U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle.

The FBI said, “Subsequent analysis … confirmed the substance in the letter contained active ricin toxin,” the FBI said.

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(KHQ-TV)

SPOKANE — U.S. post office workers located the fifth letter being sought by federal investigators in connection with four others containing the active toxin ricin, the FBI said. It has been addressed to the CIA but sent to the wrong address, and the letter was returned to Spokane.

The envelope was found unopened and not leaking any materials, the FBI said Saturday. There are no reports of U.S. Postal Service employee injuries or illness.

The appearance of the envelope is similar to the previous four letters, with a postmark of May 13, 2013, from Spokane, and the handwritten address penned in red ink, the FBI said. The unopened letter will undergo further testing.

The FBI and USPIS are not aware of any injuries or illnesses caused by any of the five letters.

Matthew Ryan Buquet of Spokane faces a one-count grand jury indictment for mailing threatening communications, in relation to the letter sent to a federal court judge in Spokane that contained ricin, the FBI said.

The investigation is ongoing, the FBI said.

 

 

ricin1

(KHQ-TV)

SEATTLE — The FBI said Thursday that a ricin-laced letter sent to President Obama and intercepted on May 22 came from Spokane.

In a news release, the FBI said that a total of five threatening letters, three of which tested positive for the toxin ricin, were mailed from Spokane earlier this month. One was sent to a federal judge in Spokane, one was sent to a post office in Spokane, one was sent to the president, one was sent to Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane and one was sent to the CIA.

Four of the letters have been intercepted.  The fifth letter mailed to the CIA was sent to an address in McLean, Va., that does not receive mail deliveries and has not been found yet, the FBI said.

“Subsequent analysis … indicated the substance in the letters sent to the president of the United States, the federal District Court judge, and the Spokane post office contained active ricin toxin,” the FBI said. “The contents of the Fairchild letter continue to undergo testing.”

On May 22, the FBI arrested Matthew Ryan Buquet, 38, for allegedly sending the letter to the judge. A federal grand jury has indicted Buquet on one count of mailing threatening communications.

“The four envelopes in the possession of law enforcement officials were postmarked in Spokane on May 13, 2013,” the FBI said. “Each addressee was handwritten in red ink.”

The FBI advised the public that should it come into contact with a letter addressed to the CIA that it should not be opened or handled and that law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately.

Letters sent to Mayor Bloomberg test positive for ricin: police

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Photo of Ryan Buquet from Myspace.com

SPOKANE — The FBI arrested a 37-year-old man Wednesday in connection with a ricin-laced letter sent to a federal judge in Spokane.

Matthew R. Buquet, of Spokane, made a preliminary appearance in U.S. District Court after a federal grand jury indicted him on one count of mailing threatening communication, the FBI said. The U.S. magistrate entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.

Buquet was ordered held without bond pending a bail hearing next Tuesday.

The Spokesman-Review said the letter was addressed to U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle.

The U.S. Postal Service had said earlier that two letters were intercepted — one addressed to the courthouse and the other to the main downtown post office — and they contained ricin in a form that did not immediately pose a threat to workers.

But the FBI referred to only one letter in its news release Wednesday about Buquet’s arrest.

The FBI said the letter was received May 14 at the post office on W. Riverside Avenue in Spokane. During a screening process, a court employee discovered that the envelope contained a suspicious substance. “Subsequent analysis … confirmed the substance in the letter contained active ricin toxin,” the FBI said.

The federal investigation led officials to the man’s apartment in the Browne’s Addition of Spokane.

Ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans. Ricin poisoning can occur when the substance enters the body through ingestion, inhalation or injection. “To date, the FBI is not aware of any illness as a result of exposure to these letters,” the FBI said, using the plural ‘letters’ toward the bottom of its news release.

“Our coordinated team acted swiftly to resolve a potentially dangerous situation, and continues working tirelessly around-the-clock to investigate the origin of the letters and to address any remaining, potential risks,” said FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Laura M. Laughlin of the FBI Seattle Division.

ricinSEATTLE — Preliminary lab tests indicated the presence of ricin on two suspicious letters in Spokane, Wash., the Postal Service told the American Postal Workers Union Wednesday.

The letters are being analyzed and tested further for hazardous material, the APWU in Spokane said in a news release.

One letter was addressed to the Spokane Post Office; the other was addressed to a federal judge in Spokane. Both letters were postmarked May 14.

“We have no reason to believe that any employees are at risk from handling the suspect letters as they passed through the mailstream in Spokane,” management told employees. “The substance involved was not in a form that could be inhaled or otherwise readily ingested.

“If anyone were to inhale a quantity of ricin large enough to produce symptoms, they most likely would include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing and would appear within 24 hours. If you have not experienced such symptoms, you should not be concerned.  If you have, we urge you to let your supervisor know and see your doctor promptly for an evaluation.”

The APWU will monitor the situation closely, said APWU President Cliff Guffey. “Our members’ safety is our primary concern,” he said.

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