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Woman suspected of sending ricin-tainted package to Donald Trump at White House arrested at US-Canada border

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 9/21/2020 Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
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A woman suspected of sending a package containing the poison ricin to the White House has been arrested at the U.S.-Canada border, a law enforcement official said.

The suspect was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Peace Bridge border crossing near Buffalo, New York, and is expected to face federal charges in connection with the package which was intercepted in the past week, said the official who is not authorized to comment publicly.

The letter was believed to have been mailed from Canada, the official said. 

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In a weekend statement, the FBI described the missive as "a suspicious letter received at a U.S. government mail facility."

Mail addressed to the White House is screened at an off-site location.

Ricin explained: Just how deadly is it, how does it kill?

Ricin, a poison drawn from the husks of castor beans, has surfaced in other plots targeting Trump and other officials. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure to ricin through inhalation, ingestion or injection can lead to death.

a large green tree in front of White House: A Secret Service officer mans his post on the roof of the White House is seen on Oct. 29, 2008, in Washington, D.C. © KAREN BLEIER, AFP/Getty Images A Secret Service officer mans his post on the roof of the White House is seen on Oct. 29, 2008, in Washington, D.C.

In 2018, a federal grand jury returned a seven-count indictment against a Utah man, alleging that he threatened Trump and other administration officials in letters, some of which contained the natural ingredients used to make ricin. 

In that case, a series of suspicious letters were addressed to Trump, then-Defense Secretary James Mattis, FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and others.

In 2001, following the 9/11 attacks, another form of bio-terrorism shook the country when letters containing anthrax were sent to congressional and media offices.

Those attacks killed five people and sickened more than a dozen others.

A microbiologist at the Army's elite infectious disease laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland, Bruce Ivins, committed suicide in 2008, as federal authorities were preparing to charge him in the attacks.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Woman suspected of sending ricin-tainted package to Donald Trump at White House arrested at US-Canada border

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