April 16, 2013

CNN is reporting that an envelope sent to the office of Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) has tested positive for a poison called ricin, a highly toxic white, protein powder derived from castor beans.

From CNN:

An envelope that tested positive for the deadly poison ricin was intercepted Tuesday afternoon at the U.S. Capitol’s off-site mail facility in Washington, congressional and law enforcement sources tell CNN.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was told the letter was addressed to the office of Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi. After the envelope tested positive in a first routine test, it was retested two more times, each time coming up positive, the law enforcement source said. The package was then sent to a Maryland lab for further testing.

Senators were briefed on the matter Tuesday evening and told the congressional post offices would be temporarily shut down.

“It was caught in the screening facility. That’s why we have an off-site screening facility for mail,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri.

Further in the article, ricin is linked to “suspect extremists:”

It can be produced easily and cheaply, and authorities in several countries have investigated links between suspect extremists and ricin. But experts say it is more effective on individuals than as a weapon of mass destruction.

According to the CDC, the inhalation of ricin can cause cough and respiratory distress and can lead to “pulmonary edema, respiratory failure, and multi-system organ dysfunction.”

Ricin was also the poison used in 1978 to assassinate Georgi Markov, Bulgarian author and dissident writer.

More on this story as it develops..

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