June 3, 2013
By Neal Tepel
Washington, DC – Five letters suspected of containing the poison ricin have recently entered the mail stream. Two letters, postmarked in Spokane and discovered on May 14, were addressed to the Spokane Post Office and to a federal judge in Spokane. A suspicious third letter had been discovered bearing a May 13 Spokane postmark , this time addressed to President Barack Obama.
KREM-TV reported that authorities arrested Spokane resident Matthew Buquet, 37, on May 22 and charged him with at least one count of mailing a threatening communication.
The three letters in Spokane also contained physical threats and are being investigated by postal inspectors and the Federal Protective Service.
In addition to letters in Spokane that contained poison, two more containing ricin were mailed on May 20th. These communications had Shreveport, LA, postmarks with addresses in New York City and Washington, DC. No arrests have yet been made in connection with this latest incident.
According to the Postal Services, the suspected substances were not in a form that could be inhaled or otherwise ingested and postal employees were not at risk from handling these letters. However, all five letters are undergoing further tests, and inspectors are keeping an eye out for additional letters. NALC members who have further questions should call Director of Safety and Health Manuel L. Peralta Jr. at NALC Headquarters in Washington, DC