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Donald Trump

US Navy veteran confesses to sending envelopes suspected of containing poison ricin to Trump, officials say

William Clyde Allen III, 39, made the confession while speaking with investigators after his arrest at his house in Utah, according to court documents; he said he had bought castor beans and sent letters with them

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 October, 2018, 3:02am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 October, 2018, 3:29am

A Utah Navy veteran confessed to sending four envelopes containing the substance from which the dangerous poison ricin is derived to US President Donald Trump and members of his administration, authorities said in court documents.

William Clyde Allen III, 39, made the confession while speaking with investigators after his arrest at his house in the small city of Logan, north of Salt Lake City, according to documents filed Wednesday night in a Utah court.

He told them he had bought castor beans and put them in letters that he sent. Castor beans and be ground down to extract ricin, which can be fatal if inhaled, injected or consumed.

The documents filed to justify Allen’s arrest did not state a motive. He was being held on a US$25,000 cash-only bond.

State investigators working with the FBI said the envelopes with ground castor beans were mailed last week to the president, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Defence Secretary James Mattis and the Navy’s top officer, Admiral John Richardson.

Authorities have said the letters were intercepted and no one was injured. Castor beans can cause injury if swallowed, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

No lawyer has been listed for Allen. A federal complaint is expected to be filed Friday.

Allen served in the Navy from 1998 to 2002, according to Navy records. He has a criminal record in Utah including child abuse and attempted aggravated assault.

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Last year, he sent a vague email threat to the US Air Force, said Logan police Captain Tyson Budge, though military officials did not believe he was capable of carrying it out.

Another letter sent to Utah Governor Gary Herbert in July blamed him for health problems Allen’s wife was suffering, Budge said.