Spokane hazmat team search apartment for ricin
SPOKANE — Authorities in hazardous-materials suits searched a downtown Spokane apartment Saturday, investigating the recent discovery of a pair of letters containing the deadly poison ricin.
Few details have been released in the case, and no arrests have been made. Federal investigators have been searching for the person who sent the letters, which were postmarked Tuesday in Spokane.
The letters were addressed to the downtown post office and the adjacent federal building, but authorities have not released a potential motive. They also have not said whether the letters targeted anyone in particular.
Ricin is a highly toxic substance made from castor beans. As little as 500 micrograms, the size of the head of a pin, can kill an adult if inhaled or ingested.
There have been no reports of illness connected to the letters.
FBI agents, Spokane police and Postal Service inspectors descended on the three-story apartment building Saturday morning and the investigation continued into the afternoon.
FBI spokeswoman Ayn Sandalo Dietrich would not say whether agents were questioning anyone in connection with the case.
“We are not actively looking for a subject,” Sandalo Dietrich said. “We are not asking the public's help in bringing someone in.”
Despite the hazmat suits, officials said apartment residents were not at risk, and people were seen coming in and out of the building.
“There's no public risk,” Sandalo Dietrich said.
Sandalo Dietrich would not say specifically why the FBI was searching the apartment.
“Information we developed led us to believe this was a productive spot to search,” she said.
Two letters containing the substance were intercepted at the downtown Spokane post office on Tuesday.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Meningitis suspects to be freed from jail while awaiting trial in 64 deaths
- Car plows into crowd in California, killing 3
- Obama, now unbridled, quickly checking off to-do list
- Smoking, drinking falls off among teens, but not drug use
- Attorney General Holder, Justice Department target bias against transgender employees
- Federal group will aim to instill police-public trust
- Traffic camera use upheld in Ohio
- Federal injunction stops Arizona from enforcing policy of denying driver’s licenses to young immigrants
- Feds design college ratings system
- Harvard study bolsters link between pollution, autism
- Social Security yanked from deported Nazis