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Friday, October 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Ricin-laced letters from Spokane sent to Obama, CIA

A total of a total of five threatening letters, three of which have tested positive for the poison ricin, were mailed from Spokane earlier this month, the FBI said Thursday.

Previously, federal officials had confirmed only two letters were involved in the local investigation, which led to the indictment of a Spokane man last week.

The newly disclosed letters were addressed to President Barack Obama, Fairchild Air Force Base and the Central Intelligence Agency in McLean, Va.

Matthew Ryan Buquet, 38, of Spokane, is being held without bond on one count of mailing a threatening letter to U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle in Spokane.

That letter, postmarked May 13, was intercepted at the U.S. Post Office in downtown Spokane on May 14. Another letter was sent to the downtown Spokane post office. The presence of the poison in both letters was confirmed by the FBI’s National Bioforensic Analysis Center.

The letter sent to the president also tested positive for ricin.

Tests were still being conducted on the letter sent to Fairchild, the FBI said.

All of the four seized letters were addressed by hand with red ink.

A fifth letter was detected by investigators on May 22 after it was addressed by hand in red ink to the Central Intelligence Agency.

The CIA letter has not been recovered and remains a public safety concern, the FBI said. Investigators did not specify how that letter was detected.

So far, no one has been harmed by the ricin in the Spokane case.

On May 18, FBI agents, U.S. Postal Service investigators and Spokane police searched Buquet’s residence on the second floor of the Osmun Apartments at 1818 W. First Ave.

Buquet was indicted on May 22 in U.S. District Court.

Buquet had been employed as a night janitor for ABM Janitorial Services, but a spokesman for the company said last week that Buquet had not worked for the company for more than a month prior to his indictment.

Buquet wrote in a biography on a social media site that he was an immigrant from Colombia raised by adoptive parents in the U.S. He later went into foster care, he said.

He is a registered sex offender because of a 1998 conviction for indecent liberties, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

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