Canadian authorities say letter containing ricin sent to White House

The FBI is leading an investigation into a letter sent to the White House that was believed to contain the poison ricin. Initial information indicated the letter originated in Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.

“The FBI and our U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Postal Inspection Service partners are investigating a suspicious letter received at a U.S. government mail facility,” the FBI said in a statement. “At this time, there is no known threat to public safety.”

The RCMP, which is working with the FBI on the investigation, said the FBI conducted an analysis on the substance found in the envelope. This report indicated the presence of ricin. 

Ricin is naturally found in castor beans, but it can be made into a poison from the waste “mash” produced when castor oil is made. It takes a deliberate act to make it into a poison, and no known antidote exists. Death from ricin poisoning can occur within 36 to 72 hours of exposure, depending on the route of exposure (inhalation, ingestion, or injection) and the dose received. If death has not occurred in 3 to 5 days, the victim usually recovers.

There have been several incidents in recent years involving ricin being sent through the mail. In 2018, Navy veteran William Clyde Allen III was arrested for mailing letters containing castor seeds to the White House and the Pentagon. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if castor seeds are swallowed, ricin can be released and cause injury.

Andres Triay contributed to this report. 

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Twins abduct, beat man for ransom while on house arrest for murder, authorities say

Twin brothers under house arrest on murder charges duct-taped a man and cut his face and toes demanding a ransom payment, authorities said.

On Friday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida announced 23-year-old twin brothers Devon Cooke and Donavan Cooke, of Miami Gardens, were charged with carjacking and kidnapping after they allegedly abducted and assaulted a man in an attempt to collect ransom money.

The brothers were under house house arrest on murder and attempted murder charges when the incident happened.

Authorities say on Tuesday the victim, who was not identified, drove to the twins’ home in Miami Gardens to collect money. When he arrived, the brothers assaulted him, snatched his car key and dragged him out of the car and into their house.

The brothers then bound him to a chair using duct tape and began beating him, authorities said. They used a knife to cut his face and toes and wrapped a dog leash around his neck, chocking him unconscious.

A witness told authorities they heard the man pleading for his life. The brothers threatened to kill him if he didn’t come up with the ransom money, the press release read.

With a gun to the man’s head, he was forced to make a call to an unknown person and told them to put cash, a Rolex and other jewelry into a bag and drive to a spot the twins designated.

An accomplice to the brothers then arrived at the home and stuffed the man into a car and took him to the exchange spot. Once there, the man ran away and the accomplice drove off with the ransom.

Authorities say investigation led by police officers led to the Cooke twins. FBI agents found some of the items used in the abduction and beating.

The twins are in federal custody and made their first appearance in Miami federal court Friday. Each brother faces up to 15 years in federal prison on the carjacking charge and life in prison on the kidnapping charge.

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7 people shot to death at marijuana grow house in Inland Empire, authorities say

Seven people were shot to death at the site of an apparent illegal marijuana grow in the Inland Empire over Labor Day weekend, authorities said.



a close up of a map: Seven people were shot to death at an apparent illegal marijuana grow house in Riverside County, authorities said. (Los Angeles Times)


© (Los Angeles Times)
Seven people were shot to death at an apparent illegal marijuana grow house in Riverside County, authorities said. (Los Angeles Times)

Riverside County sheriff’s deputies responded at 12:33 a.m. Monday to a reported assault with a deadly weapon in the 45000 block of Highway 371 in Aguanga, an unincorporated community roughly 18 miles east of Temecula.

At the residence, deputies found seven people with gunshot wounds, according to the Sheriff’s Department. Six died from their injuries at the scene, and one woman died after being taken to a hospital, authorities said.

Names and descriptions of the victims were not immediately available Tuesday morning.

Officials said that the residence was apparently housing an illicit marijuana operation. Several hundred plants and more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana were found at the scene, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities have not yet publicly identified any suspects, and the investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Department at (951) 955-2777.

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