Canada police say six ricin-laced letters sent to U.S., including White House

By Christinne Muschi

LONGUEUIL, Quebec (Reuters) – Canadian police on Monday searched an apartment in a Montreal suburb linked to the woman arrested for sending a ricin-filled envelope to the White House and to five other addresses in Texas, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said.

U.S. authorities arrested a woman at the U.S.-Canada border near Buffalo, New York, on Sunday on suspicion that she sent the deadly poison by mail, addressed to the White House. The woman has joint Canadian and French citizenship, two sources said on Monday.

She will appear on Tuesday at 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT) in Buffalo before Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder, Jr., a spokeswoman for the federal court in the Western District of New York said.

“We believe a total of six letters were sent, one to the White House and five to Texas,” RCMP officer Charles Poirier said outside the modern brown and grey building where the search was taking place. “We can’t confirm that she lived in (the apartment), but it is connected to her.”

Poirier could not say where in Texas the envelopes were mailed, but the police department in Mission, Texas, received a suspicious letter within the last week, Art Flores, a spokesman for the department, said. The department did not open the envelope and turned it over to the FBI, he said.

Flores also said the Mission police had arrested the woman now believed to be held in Buffalo in early 2019, but said he did not have records related to the arrest and referred further inquiries to the FBI.

The FBI is investigating several suspected ricin letters sent to law enforcement and detention facilities in South Texas, a U.S. law enforcement source told Reuters.

So far they have not found any link to political or terrorist groups, but the investigation is ongoing, the source said.

The RCMP’s special Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives team is leading the operation, the RCMP said.

On Saturday, the RCMP confirmed the White House letter had apparently been sent from Canada and said the FBI had requested assistance.

The envelope was intercepted at a government mail center before it arrived at the White House.

Ricin is found naturally in castor beans but it takes a deliberate act to convert it into a biological weapon. Ricin can cause death within 36 to 72 hours from exposure to an amount as small as a pinhead. No known antidote exists.

(Reporting by Christinne Muschi in Longueuil, Steve Scherer in Ottawa and Mark Hosenball in Washington, additional reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa, writing by Steve Scherer; Editing by Chris Reese, Jonathan Oatis and Tom Brown)

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Woman suspected of sending ricin to White House arrested near Canada border

An arrest was made in the investigation into an envelope addressed to the White House that was intercepted Saturday and deemed “suspicious,” the FBI said in a statement on Sunday.

The Associated Press, citing three law enforcement officials, reported that a woman has been arrested on the New York-Canada border. She is suspected of sending an envelope with poison ricin.

The woman was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Peace Bridge border crossing near Buffalo and is expected to face federal charges, the officials said. Her name was not immediately released.

PACKAGES SENT TO PENTAGON SUSPECTED TO CONTAIN RICIN, ‘SUSPICIOUS ENVELOPE’ SENT TO TRUMP AMID SCARE AT CRUZ OFFICE IN TEXAS

The individual who was arrested is believed to be the person who sent the letter, according to the FBI Washington field office.

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According to Mayo Clinic, Ricin is poisonous and can be produced from the waste that results from processing castor beans. There is no vaccine or antidote for the poison.

A Navy veteran was arrested in 2018 and confessed to sending envelopes to Trump and members of his administration that contained the substance from which ricin is derived.

Fox News’ Sam Dorman and the Associated Press contributed to this report

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House Hunting in Canada: A Rowhouse in Old Montreal With Income Potential

This four-story attached greystone rowhouse is in Old Montreal, the historic riverside district just east of Montreal’s downtown core. The property faces Marché Bonsecours, a restored 1847 building that once housed the city’s main public market. Behind the market building are Montreal’s Old Port and the St. Lawrence River.

“This is the beating heart of scenic Old Montreal,” said Felix Jasmin of Engel & Völkers Montreal, the listing agent.

Built in 1870, the six-bedroom, three-bathroom house offers 12,000 square feet of living space, including a detached rear carriage house. From the street, an arched entryway opens to a long entry hall and double-sized living room whose gleaming marble floors once adorned the Bank of Montreal’s headquarters nearby. “The owner’s contractor happened to be the guy demolishing the bank,” Mr. Jasmin said.

Tall, latticed windows run the length of the living room, illuminating its exposed-brick wall and whitewashed surfaces. “The wooden windows are very typical of Old Montreal,” Mr. Jasmin said. The living room connects to a formal dining room with an enormous chandelier and brick-encased decorative fireplace.

The dining room links to a small, furnished solarium with a glass ceiling and a French country feel. “The idea was to have your aperitifs in the living room, dinner in the dining room, and your liquor in the solarium,” Mr. Jasmin said. From the solarium, a door opens to a small back terrace. The home’s kitchen, also off the solarium, “was meant as a functional kitchen, for catered meals, and it’s a very different look from the rest of the house,” Mr. Jasmin said.

A curved staircase ascends to the main suite, which occupies the entire second floor. “This was the owner’s private floor, and it’s the masterpiece of the building,” Mr. Jasmin said. “It feels like a Parisian apartment.” A large bedroom with en suite bath flows through a wide archway into a high-ceilinged, tiled living room. A pair of cast-iron doors conceal an office, which Mr. Jasmin said could become a bedroom.

Five bedrooms occupy the building’s third floor, though only one bathroom. The floor has a small kitchen with a washer-dryer and a dining area. A spiral staircase leads from the third floor to an unfinished attic, “which is almost full-sized. A tall adult can stand in it,” Mr. Jasmin said.

The owner, a Montreal businesswoman who also lives in Paris, “once hosted fashion shows in the house, and many dinners for Montreal’s who’s who,” Mr. Jasmin said. Over a half-century of ownership, she has replaced electrical and HVAC systems, upgraded windows to withstand Montreal winters, and preserved the landmark facade.

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