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Federal Agents Search Spokane Apartment For Ties To Ricin Letters

Northwest News Network, Jessica Robinson

Federal agents in hazmat suits and SWAT gear searched a Spokane apartment Saturday morning. They were looking for evidence connected to a pair of ricin-laced letters sent through the mail. The letters were addressed to a federal judge in Spokane and to the post office itself. 

Teams from the FBI and the law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service executed a federal search warrant in a residential neighborhood near downtown Spokane. They entered a brick apartment building less than a mile from Spokane’s main post office. That’s where workers intercepted two letters allegedly containing ricin and threatening messages.

Federal authorities aren’t revealing much about the case. Outside the apartment building, FBI spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich declined to say what role the occupant might have played.

“We’re certainly looking for the sender behind these letters but we aren’t currently going out to the public, identifying a person or asking for the public’s help in bringing somebody in,” Dietrich told reporters. She added there’s no threat to neighbors.

The postal workers’ union says the first round of lab tests indicated the letters were tainted with ricin, a deadly poison made from castor beans. The FBI does not believe there’s a connection between this case and the letters containing ricin sent to President Obama and a U.S. senator from Mississippi last month.

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