A Navy veteran was taken into custody Wednesday in connection with mailing packages suspected to contain ricin to federal officials on Monday, according to the Utah Herald Journal.
William Clyde Allen III, 39, was arrested at 380 N. 200 West in Logan, Utah. Officials are asking the public to stay clear of the area until an investigation is complete because of the probability that hazardous chemicals could be at the scene, FBI Salt Lake City field office spokesman Doug Davis said. The suspect has a history of weird behavior, and was actually placed on a ‘counter terrorism’ website’s ‘Hall of Shame.’
Allen was reportedly taken into custody without incident. He is being held in the Davis County jail without bond, and he is expected to be formally charged Friday, U.S. attorney’s office spokeswoman Melody Rydalch told Military Times.
During an FBI investigation on Wednesday, an unexplained explosion was heard coming from the backyard of the residence, FBI Salt Lake City field office spokesman Doug Davis told the Journal.
“No wider threat to the public safety exists at this time,” Davis said. “As it is a pending matter, that’s all we can say at this time.”
As of yet, officials have not released any information about what they found inside Allen’s home.
According to an affidavit, Allen confessed to mailing four letters containing ground castor beans to President Donald Trump, FBI director Christopher Wray, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and the chief of Naval operations Adm. John Richardson, the Journal reported.
The packages, which the Journal reported to have tested positive for ricin poison, were intercepted by screening facilities.
Ricin is a poison that is naturally found in castor beans, which can be harmful if ingested, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Associated Press reported that no injuries were reported in the interception of the packages.
Allen served in the Navy from October 1998 to October 2002, according to records observed by Military Times. He reportedly served as a fireman apprentice during his time in the service, and spent about two and a half years on two different supply ships.
After his military career ended, Allen had several run-ins with the law.
The Journal reported that Utah court records showed that he was arrested in 2003 with a DUI.
In 2004, Allen was charged in a child sex-abuse case that involved two girls with whom he had an unspecified “relationship of trust,” the AP reported. He pleaded guilty a lesser charge of neglect, which prevented him from having to register as a sex offender.
In 2008, Allen was convicted of attempted aggravated assault and served two years in prison, the AP reported.
In December 2017, Allen was named in the Counter Domestic Terrorism website’s “Hall of Shame” for allegedly threatening another veteran over social media, the Journal reported, adding that they had no way of corroborating the story.
It is worth noting that also on Monday, Sen. Ted Cruz’s office received a letter that contained a white powdery substance.
Two Cruz staff members were taken to a hospital after they were exposed to the substance on Tuesday, KTRK reported.
The Houston Fire Department said tests conducted on the powder revealed the it was not hazardous.
A Pentagon spokeswoman told KTRK that the powder in envelopes contained the substance from which the poison ricin is derived, but that it was not ricin.
It is not currently known whether the two incidents are connected.
Mail entering the Department of Defense facility undergoes a rigorous process before it is delivered.
All parcels are screened by employees who wear white protective suits, a Pentagon official told NBC News. A sample from each parcel then makes its way to a lab for more testing.
Mail that is considered “normal” is generally released within 24 hours. Mail considered suspicious is quarantined and is set to undergo further testing.
Mail delivered to the president also undergoes serious screening at the White House Office of Presidential Correspondence.
Allen could face harsh punishment for sending the letters.
In 2013, Shannon Richardson was charged with mailing ricin to then-President Barack Obama, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and then-director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns in Washington Mark Glaze. She was sentenced to 18 years in prison and was ordered to pay $367,000 in restitution, according to CNN.
New charges are expected to be filed against Allen later this week.