A person of interest in the latest round of ricin-laced letters is being investigated by the FBI in New Boston, Texas, after his wife called police to report suspicious activity by her husband, including computer ricin-cooking research and the presence of an unidentified substance in the couple’s refrigerator, law enforcement officials reported Friday.
Army veteran Nathaniel Richardson is currently a civilian DOD employee at the Red River Army Depot, according to neighbors. He is a father of five and his actress wife is pregnant with their sixth child.
Investigators removed computers and other evidence from the home early Friday, and Richardson is in custody, but has not been charged as of mid-day.
These events were sparked by recent letters sent to President Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, which were intercepted at separate US Postal mail facilities due to of splatters of a pinkish-colored substance. Postal service officials claimed the ricin was not toxic enough to be deadly, but more conclusive tests are being conducted with results expected late Friday.
According to ABC news reports, law enforcement sources say the ricin-based substance appears to have been botched in the preparation process, which is made from castor beans.
“It may not have been correctly made,” one of the sources said. “Clearly amateur hour. This is not the national threat as some are making it out to be.”
Both letters to the president, the mayor and a third party involved in Bloomberg’s control organization contained was mailed from Shreveport, LA., and postmarked May 20. They contained the following text from a disgruntled individual angry over an alleged attack on his Second Amendment rights:
You will have to kill me and my family before you get my guns. Anyone wants to come to my house will be shot in the face. The right to bear arms is my constitutional God-given right and I will exercise that right ’til the day I die. What’s in this letter is nothing compared to what I’ve got planned for you.
Officials fear the latest threatening letters are of a copy-cat nature after two other ricin events happened in recent months. In April, James E. Dutschke from Mississippi was charged with making a biological agent and the attempt to use it as a deadly weapon.
In addition Matthew Ryan Buquet from Washington State has pleaded not guilty to May 22 charges of threatening U.S. District Judge Frederick Van Sickle in Spokane.
There are currently a total of five ricin letters being investigated by the FBI.
Mayor Bloomberg, a billionaire, who has been a fierce gun control advocate against the deep pockets of the National Rifle Associationg has no intention of closing down his work with Boston mayor Thomas Menino through Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
“There’s always threats, unfortunately. That comes with the job,’ Bloomberg said in a radio interview. ‘I trust the police department and I feel perfectly safe. I’ve got more danger from lightning than from anything else and I’ll go about my business.’
It is unclear if alleged ricin-laced letter senders are laboring under the delusion that presidents, mayors, judges, etc. actually open their own mail—which, of course, they do not.
President Obama has not commented on the ricin-last letter that never made it anywhere near the White House.