Parcels Suspected of Containing Ricin Sent to Pentagon

By Faye Higbee

Two parcels addressed to someone in the Pentagon initially tested positive for the deadly poison ricin on Monday. The packages never made it inside the Pentagon, and were tested at the mail delivery facility, which is a separate building next door. The mail facility was shut down as a precaution, and there were no reports of ill effects.

Pentagon officials would not name the individual to whom the parcels were addressed.The FBI took custody of the two envelopes.

Update: Officials stated the envelopes were addressedto SecDef James Mattis and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson accordingto the New York Post.

“On Monday, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency detected a suspicious substance during mail screening at the Pentagon’s remote screening facility. The envelopes were taken by the FBI this morning for further analysis. All USPS mail received at the Pentagon mail screening facility yesterday is currently under quarantine and poses no threat to Pentagon personnel.” Col Rob Manning


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) wrote about the symptoms of ricin exposure by inhalation:

“Inhalation exposure symptoms include a cough, wheezing, dyspnea, sore throat, and congestion. Exposed patients may go on to develop pulmonary edema and pneumonia…Symptoms may begin within a few hours if ingested; however, symptoms may start almost immediately or may not be apparent for several hours in cases of ingestion or inhalation.”

In the past, ricin was sent to Barack Obama, Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker, and Lee County, Mississippi Judge Sadie Holland, former NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Mark Glaze. The poison is made from castor beans, and there is no known antidote. People have survived ricin attacks, but it was also used to assassinate a Bulgarian dissident in 1978.