Skip to Content

Utah Man Arrested on Suspicion of Mailing Threatening Letters to White House, Pentagon

US Defense Department personnel, screen mail as it arrives at a US government facility near the Pentagon in Washington, DC on October 2, 2018. Two or more packages delivered to the Pentagon this week were suspected to contain the deadly poison ricin, an official said. Thomas Watkins—AFP/Getty Images

The FBI arrested a man in Logan, Utah, on suspicion of mailing threatening letters to Pentagon officials and the White House that were initially thought to contain the poison ricin.

Federal authorities took William Clyde Allen III into custody on a probable cause warrant, but are unlikely to file charges until Friday, Reuters reported. The FBI was also investigating the possibility of “potentially hazardous chemicals” at Allen’s home in Logan, a small city about 60 miles north of Salt Lake City.

On Tuesday, the Secret Service confirmed that a “suspicious envelope” addressed to President Trump arrived at a mail facility near the White House but didn’t enter the White House. Separately, the Pentagon said it also found packages suspected of containing ricin that were addressed to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations.

The envelopes were later found to contain either castor oil or the castor beans it’s derived from, not ricin itself. Ricin, a powerful toxin that can lead to death in small amounts, can be made from the waste material left over from extracting castor oil from castor beans, according to the CDC. The beans themselves can cause injury if chewed and swallowed.

FBI officials have reportedly said that the agency is still investigating the motive for the letters.