Ricin scare prompted by castor seeds, US official says

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Ricin scare prompted by castor seeds, US official says

The substance found in the envelopes sent to the Pentagon, White House and Sen. Ted Cruz’s office were castor seeds and not ricin, according chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White.

“According to our preliminary analysis, the substance was castor seeds, from which ricin is derived. The FBI is still investigating,” White said.

Another U.S. official familiar with the investigation said that one of the four envelopes had a return address, which the FBI is now pursuing as a lead.

PHOTO: US Defense Department personnel, wearing protective suits, screen mail as it arrives at the Pentagon in Washington, Oct. 2, 2018.Thomas Watkins/AFP/Getty Images
US Defense Department personnel, wearing protective suits, screen mail as it arrives at the Pentagon in Washington, Oct. 2, 2018.

The development comes one day after two envelopes suspected of containing ricin poison were identified in the Pentagon’s Central Processing Center, according to a U.S. official.

The Secret Service reported Monday that one of the envelopes was addressed to Defense Secretary James Mattis. The other suspicious envelope was addressed to President Donald Trump, though that envelope was not received nor did it enter the White House.

PHOTO: US Defense Department personnel, wearing protective suits, screen mail as it arrives at the Pentagon in Washington, Oct. 2, 2018.Thomas Watkins/AFP/Getty Images
US Defense Department personnel, wearing protective suits, screen mail as it arrives at the Pentagon in Washington, Oct. 2, 2018.

The envelopes found at the Pentagon’s mail center were addressed to Mattis and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, the official said. Those pieces of mail, flagged as part of the Pentagon’s normal processing procedures, are being examined to determine whether they test positive for the deadly poison, the FBI said in a statement.

ABC affiliate KTRK reported that two people were hospitalized after an envelope with a powdery substance was sent to Cruz’s campaign office in Houston.

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