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Published On: Sun, Oct 28th, 2018

Utah man, William Clyde Allen, charged for sending ricin to White House

A Utah man has been charged with sending a series of letters threatening to unleash the deadly poison ricin to President Trump, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and several other top administration officials.

Identified as William Clyde Allen III, the Navy veteran reportedly confessed to law enforcement that he sent envelopes stuffed with the threatening letters and “ground up castor beans” (which can be turned into ricin if the poison is extracted correctly) “to the president, FBI director, secretary of Defense and the chief of Naval Operations,” according to the Salt Lake Tribune, and pleaded not guilty to “five counts of mailing threats to officers and employees of the US.”

photo/ Skeeze via pixabay.com

The FBI says the man “knowingly threatened to use a biological agent and toxin, specifically ricin, as a weapon,” even though he was not successful in extracting any actual ricin from the castor beans.

Allen confessed to purchasing the beans and having sent the letters, according to the FBI’s probable cause statement that accompanied the charges.

This man was already on the FBI’s radio screen: “According to Utah court records, in 2005, he was convicted on two counts of 3rd degree felony child abuse, a case that involved accusations of child-sex abuse of two girls. In 2008, [he] was convicted of attempted aggravated assault. He was released from prison in 2011.” He also had a history of threats, having called in a bomb threat to a local Air Force base in 2017, and sent a threatening letter to Utah’s governor the same year.

The Salt Lake Tribune says that early reports indicated both the White House and the Pentagon had received letters laced with ricin; the suspected poison was later found to be inert.

Allen, 39, had trouble with the law in the past, KUTV reported. In 2008, he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in Davis County. He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail and was released in 2011

 

FBI officials searched the man’s home, looking for further evidence of ricin, but told reporters Friday that “no wider threat to public safety exists at this time.”

Allen was a registered Democrat in 2004; however, he switched political parties in 2017 when he registered as a Republican.

 

William Clyde Allen

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