Anonymous letters sent to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the director of the organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns, in Washington, D.C., contained material that initially tested positive for ricin, according to NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne.
According to a police statement released Wednesday, the anonymous letters were opened in New York on Friday at the city’s mail facility in Manhattan and in Washington on Sunday at an office used by Mayors Against Illegal Guns — a nonprofit founded by Bloomberg that lobbies for stricter gun control. It is believed that both letters threatened the mayor and made reference to the gun control debate.
Both the letters contained an oily pinkish-orange substance, Browne said. He would not comment on what specific threats were made or where the letters were postmarked.
Civilian personnel who came into contact with the letters were not presenting symptoms of ricin exposure. However, three officers who came into contact with the letter sent to Bloomberg experienced some minor symptoms that have since abated.
Police said the letter in Washington, D.C., was opened by Mark Glaze, the director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. He was working out of a lobbying firm office.
The incidents are being investigated by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and the NYPD Intelligence Division.
Ricin can be fatal in small doses if inhaled or swallowed. According to the Centers for Disease Control, ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans. Symptoms can include difficulty breathing, vomiting and a redness on the skin depending on how the affected person comes into contact with the poison.
News of the letters comes as a 37-year-old man is charged in Washington state with sending the toxin in letters to a federal judge, and about a month after letters containing the substance were addressed to President Barack Obama, a U.S. senator and a Mississippi judge. A Mississippi man was arrested in that case.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Via: Fox News