Suspected ricin-laced mail sent to Pentagon, FBI analysing envelopes

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WASHINGTON: The Pentagon said on Tuesday it had received mail suspected of containing the deadly poison ricin, including an envelope that a US official said was addressed to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

The Pentagon said in a statement it had put its mail facility under quarantine and that the FBI was analyzing the envelopes.

US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the envelopes initially tested positive for ricin after being detected by Pentagon police on Monday at a mail sorting facility.

The facility is on the Pentagon compound but not in the main building.

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.

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