- The Washington Times - Friday, May 31, 2013

Yet another ricin-tainted letter was mailed to President Obama, the third such poisoned letter sent to the White House in recent weeks and part of a batch of suspicious mail sent from Spokane, Wash. that also targeted a federal judge and a post office in that city, the FBI said.

A fourth letter sent to Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane is being analyzed for possible ricin contamination, FBI officials told reporters. All the letters were intercepted by authorities before they reached their targets.

The FBI arrested Matthew Ryan Buquet, 38, on May 22 after he was accused of sending the letter to the judge. The man, a janitor and a registered sex offender, has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail in Spokane.

The FBI has confirmed the letters sent to the president, the judge and the Spokane post office contained active ricin toxin. The contents of the Fairchild letter are undergoing testing.The four letters were postmarked in Spokane on May 13. Each addressee was handwritten in red ink.

Investigators also are trying to locate a similar letter they believe was mailed to a CIA location in McLean, Va. It was addressed to a location that does not receive mail deliveries. The FBI said the letter was probably also postmarked on May 13 and also penned in red ink.

The news of the Spokane-based letters follows an announcement Thursday by the Secret Service that a suspicious letter mailed to President Obama from Louisiana was similar to letters suspected of being laced with ricin that were sent last week to New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and a gun control group he founded. The White House mail-screening facility intercepted the letter Wednesday.

Ricin-tainted letters also were sent last month to Mr. Obama, Sen. Roger F. Wicker, Mississippi Republican, and a Mississippi judge. James Everett Dutschke of Tupelo, Miss., has been charged in connection with the case. Federal authorities initially arrested another Mississippi man accused of sending the letters but dropped all charges.

Authorities haven’t suggested any ties between the three batches of letters and no one was reported becoming seriously ill from handling any of the letters.

Ricin, naturally found in castor beans, can be fatal if ingested, inhaled or absorbed. Ricin poisoning has no known antidote and is difficult to detect as a cause of death.

This article was based in part on wire service reports.

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