A probe into suspicious letters sent in the
post to US President Barack Obama and other federal authorities saw
investigators working Friday in two US states.
The FBI has arrested a man in Washington state and identified another person of interest in Texas in the investigation into letters containing the poison ricin, news reports said.
The suspicious letters were intercepted before they reached the White House and the office of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The Secret Service said Thursday that a suspicious letter addressed to Obama was similar to two threatening letters laced with the toxin ricin sent to Bloomberg and his gun-control advocacy group.
In Washington state, the FBI has identified at least five letters laced with ricin, all sent in mid-May from Spokane, Washington, to various government offices, including the White House and the CIA, according to Spokane television station KREM.
The man arrested there, Matthew Ryan Buquet, 38, has been indicted by a grand jury on one charge of mailing threatening communications, KREM said at its website. The other three letters were addressed to a federal judge, a US post office and an air force base, all in Spokane.
The FBI has not located the letter that was sent to the CIA, according to the station. The mail stream was being monitored in an effort to find it.
Three of the other letters have tested positive for the ricin, while the fourth was still being tested.
The FBI said there was no connection between the letters sent from Spokane and letters sent from Shreveport, Louisiana, to the White House and Bloomberg. It wasn't immediately clear whether the letter sent to Obama contained ricin.
Two letters sent to Bloomberg tested positive for the toxin, CBS News reported.
A Texas man has been identified as a person of interest in the posting of the three letters, CBS said. The man was being questioned by the FBI and was not under arrest.
The letter sent to Bloomberg carried a threat related to the mayor's gun control advocacy, according to CBS.
"You will have to kill me and my family before you get my guns," it said. "Anyone wants to come to my house will get shot in the face."
The letter goes on to defend the right right to bear arms: "What's in this letter is nothing compared to what I've got planned for you."
Bloomberg has emerged as one of the country's prominent gun-control advocates. He and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which recently aired television ads urging Congress to expand background checks and pass other gun-control measures. The background check proposal failed in the Senate in April, and other gun-control measures have stalled.
Bloomberg said he would not allow the threat to distract him from his gun control policies.
"We're not going to walk away from those efforts," he said on a weekly radio show.
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