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Woman arrested in connection with ricin letter addressed to White House

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The woman was taken into custody by US Customs and Border Protection officers at the Peace Bridge border crossing near Buffalo and is expected to face federal charges.

Castor beans are used to produce ricin, a deadly poison, as pictured in this handout photo from the National Counter Terrorism Centre. Picture: REUTERS/National Counter Terrorism Centre/Handout

WASHINGTON – A woman suspected of sending an envelope containing the poison ricin, which was addressed to White House, has been arrested at the New York-Canada border, three law enforcement officials told The Associated Press.

The letter had been intercepted before it reached the White House. The woman was taken into custody by US Customs and Border Protection officers at the Peace Bridge border crossing near Buffalo and is expected to face federal charges, the officials said Sunday. Her name was not immediately released.

The letter addressed to the White House appeared to have originated in Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have said. It was intercepted at a government facility that screens mail addressed to the White House and President Donald Trump and a preliminary investigation indicated it tested positive for ricin, according to the officials.

The officials were not authorised to discuss the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

There have been several prior instances in which US officials have been targeted with ricin sent through the mail.

A Navy veteran was arrested in 2018 and confessed to sending envelopes to Trump and members of his administration that contained the substance from which ricin is derived. The letters were intercepted, and no one was hurt.

In 2014, a Mississippi man was sentenced to 25 years in prison after sending letters dusted with ricin to President Barack Obama and other officials.