PHOTO CREDITS: POLITICO
Federal agents have reportedly launched an investigation after a package containing a lethal poison was sent to President Donald Trump early last week. According to the Associated Press, a woman suspected of sending the poison was arrested trying to enter the United States from Canada over the weekend.
Law enforcement officials told CNN that the package, which was sent from Canada, was intercepted earlier last week at a mail-sorting facility outside the White House. Sources say two subsequent tests were performed, which ultimately confirmed that the package contained ricin. Ricin is a poison that has been previously used in terror plots due to its relative stability and ability to be deployed in numerous forms, such as powder, acid, pellet or mist.
According to CNN, it is unlikely the package ever reached the White House. All mail for the White House is sorted and screened at an offsite facility, the network noted. In 2018, a former sailor was arrested in Utah for allegedly sending envelopes containing the unprocessed source of ricin — seeds from the castor plant — to Trump at the White House and also to the Pentagon (NY Post).
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says ricin can be found in a waste product that occurs when processing castor beans into castor oil. It would take “a deliberate act to make ricin and use it to poison people.” No antidote exists for the poison, which can kill a person within 36 to 72 hours of exposure, according to the CDC. It is unlikely to be absorbed through the skin, but it can be deadly when ingested or inhaled. “Ricin is very toxic. It works by getting inside the cells of a person’s body and preventing the cells from making the proteins they need,” according to the CDC. “Without the proteins, cells die. Eventually this is harmful to the whole body, and may cause death.”
ARTICLE: CARSON CHOATE, DOMESTIC AFFAIRS EDITOR
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