Envelopes Sent to Defense Secretary, Navy Chief Test Positive for Ricin: Report

Aerial photo of the Pentagon in Arlington, Virgina on September 26, 2003.
Photo: Andy Dunaway (Getty Images)

Two envelopes addressed to Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson tested positive for the deadly poison ricin at the Pentagon’s Central Processing Center.

The packages, which were delivered Monday, were flagged and contained “before making it into the sprawling headquarters of the Defense Department in Virginia near Washington, DC, spokesman Chris Sherwood said Tuesday,” according to The New York Post.


The Department of Defense said in a statement that all U.S. Postal Service mail for the Pentagon facility is under quarantine, but no Pentagon personnel is in danger.

Mail intended for the Pentagon is processed in the Pentagon’s Central Processing Center which is on the Pentagon compound in Arlington, Va., but not in the main building. “The envelopes did not enter the Pentagon itself,” ABC News reports.

While ricin is a natural poison found in castor beans, once purified or refined, ricin’s toxic agent that can be transmitted through air, food or water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Stephen A. Crockett Jr.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.