Woman arrested at US-Canada border for poison mailed to White House

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The letter was intercepted by law enforcement before it reached the White House, officials said

A woman has been arrested on suspicious of sending a package containing ricin poison to US President Donald Trump, according to US immigration officials.

The unnamed woman was found at a border crossing in Buffalo, New York, as she tried to enter the US from Canada, and was reportedly carrying a gun.

The letter containing the deadly poison is believed to have come from Canada, according to investigators there.

The letter was discovered last week before it could reach the White House.

Ricin, a poison found naturally in castor beans, has been used in other attempted attacks against the White House in recent years.

The Trump administration is yet to comment on the reports.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Secret Service are investigating the package, which was discovered at a processing facility for mail sent to the White House.

“At this time, there is no known threat to public safety,” the FBI told CNN on Saturday.

The suspect may have also sent ricin to addresses in Texas, including a jail and a sheriff’s office, the news channel said.

The presence of ricin was confirmed after several tests by the FBI, authorities said.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said on Saturday it was working with the FBI to investigate the “suspicious letter sent to the White House”.

Ricin is a lethal substance that, if swallowed, inhaled or injected, can cause nausea, vomiting, internal bleeding and ultimately organ failure.

No known antidote exists for ricin. If a person is exposed to ricin, death can take place within 36 to 72 hours, depending on the dose received, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Castor seeds, which are used to make the deadly ricin poison

The CDC said the poison – which has been used in terror plots – can be manufactured into a weapon in the form of a powder, mist or pellet.

The White House and other federal buildings have been the target of ricin packages in the past.

In 2014, a Mississippi man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for sending letters dusted with ricin to former President Barack Obama and other officials.

Four years later, in 2018, a former Navy veteran was charged with sending toxic letters to the Pentagon and White House.

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Ricin: Letter containing poison addressed to Trump at White House

The White House south facade, in Washington, DCImage copyright
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The letter was intercepted by law enforcement before it reached the White House, officials said

A package containing ricin poison that was addressed to US President Donald Trump has been intercepted before it reached the White House, officials told US media.

The letter was discovered at a screening facility for White House mail earlier this week, the officials said.

They said a substance found inside the envelope was identified as ricin, a poison found naturally in castor beans.

The Trump administration is yet to comment on the reports.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Secret Service are investigating where the package came from and whether others have been sent through the US postal system.

“At this time, there is no known threat to public safety,” the FBI told CNN in a statement on Saturday.

One official told the New York Times that investigators believe the package was sent from Canada. Reports say the presence of ricin was identified after two tests.

Ricin is produced by processing castor beans. It is a lethal substance that, if swallowed, inhaled or injected, can cause nausea, vomiting, internal bleeding and ultimately organ failure.

No known antidote exists for ricin. If a person is exposed to ricin, death can take place within 36 to 72 hours, depending on the dose received, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Castor seeds, which are used to make the deadly ricin poison

The CDC said the poison – which has been used in terror plots – can be manufactured into a weapon in the form of a powder, mist or pellet.

The White House and other federal buildings have been the target of ricin packages in the past.

In 2014, a Mississippi man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for sending letters dusted with ricin to former President Barack Obama and other officials.

Four years later, in 2018, a former Navy veteran was charged with sending toxic letters to the Pentagon and White House.

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Letter sent to White House containing deadly poison ricin intercepted, officials say

A letter addressed to President Donald Trump that was intercepted before it reached the White House tested positive for the deadly poison ricin earlier this week, law enforcement officials said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations said Saturday afternoon they are investigating “a suspicious letter received at a U.S. government mail facility” alongside its partners at the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Law enforcement officials said a letter was detected at an off-site facility that screens mail addressed to the White House.

“At this time, there is no known threat to public safety,” the FBI said in a statement.

One official said the letter tested positive to ricin in both a field test and a subsequent laboratory test.

A second official said the FBI, Secret Service and the Postal Inspection Service are trying to determine where the letter came from. It’s unclear when the letter was intercepted.

Other letters that have also tested positive for ricin were discovered in different facilities, an official said. While it is unclear how many additional poisoned letters were found, most of them seem to be addressed to prisons. Only one was apparently addressed to a political figure, the official said.

The White House and Secret Service did not immediately return a request for comment.

Ricin is highly toxic that could cause nausea, vomiting, and internal bleeding of the stomach and intestines. Depending on the severity of the exposure, it can also cause failure of the liver, spleen and kidneys, and death by the collapse of the circulatory system.

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Election poison? House Democrats debate when to vote on marijuana decriminalization bill

House Democrats are mulling whether to take up a bill before the November election that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.



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The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act, which would effectively decriminalize it at the federal level.

The measure has more than 100 Democratic co-sponsors in the House as well as a handful of GOP supporters.

But some Democrats want leadership to postpone a pre-election vote, particularly vulnerable Democrats running for reelection in swing districts who worry constituents would frown on a vote to legalize marijuana while Congress has yet to address a new round of coronavirus aid.

Several Democrats on Wednesday argued that Congress should instead focus on finding a deal on coronavirus spending, which is considered the most pressing issue in most districts.

Congress must also pass a short-term spending bill, or continuing resolution, to keep the government operating beyond a Sept. 30 deadline.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, told reporters he’s not set on scheduling the bill in September, which may be the last time lawmakers gather before leaving to campaign.

“I’m a supporter of the MORE Act, but we’ve got to get this CR and COVID-19 done because they are absolutely critical to the welfare of our country,” Hoyer said. “There are a lot of bills that are possible which are important bills, good bills. But we’re focused on COVID-19 and the CR because it keeps government open and gives assistance to millions of people who absolutely need it.”

Democratic rank-and-file are divided on the timing of the bill.

“Let’s focus on where our priority is now, and that’s the coronavirus,” Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Maryland Democrat, told the Washington Examiner. “That’s the most important issue for health, safety, and welfare.”

Rep. Ann Kuster, a New Hampshire Democrat, said she is concentrating on pushing for a deal with Republicans on a new round of federal coronavirus aid, not whether to legalize marijuana, which has already been decriminalized in her state.

“We’ve got a lot on our plate,” Kuster told the Washington Examiner. “I think people are really focused on the pain in our districts, and what we really need to be focused on is getting a deal.”

Talks between Democrats and Republicans have all but stalled on coronavirus aid, however.

No legislation is scheduled, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hasn’t announced any new talks with White House negotiators.

The lawmakers eager to pass the decriminalization measure say the House should take up the bill before the election.

“The sooner we get that out of the way, the better off we’ll be,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Missouri Democrat, told the Washington Examiner.

Cleaver said marijuana is now legal in many states and must be decriminalized at the federal level to spare people from ending up in jail.

The bill would also provide an eventual pathway for banks to do business with marijuana dispensaries, which Cleaver said

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