U.S. officials have arrested a Utah man in connection with suspicious letters mailed to the president and the Pentagon.
William Clyde Allen of Logan, Utah, was arrested Wednesday in the mailing of the letters that contained castor seeds, from which highly toxic ricin can be derived.
The 39-year-old Allen is a U.S. Navy veteran.
One letter was addressed to President Donald Trump.
“The envelope was not received at the White House, nor did it ever enter the White House,” the Secret Service said Tuesday.
Two letters were sent to the Pentagon — one addressed to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, and the other to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson.
They arrived at the Defense Department’s mail distribution center near the Pentagon. The Pentagon Force Protection Agency detected the substance during mail screening, so the letters never entered the Pentagon building, officials said.
Allen served in the Navy from 1998 to 2002, according to Navy records. He worked as a damage control fireman apprentice.
Two years after his Navy tenure ended, he was charged in a child sex-abuse case involving two girls he had an unspecified “relationship of trust” with, court documents state. He later pleaded guilty to lesser neglect and abuse charges and did not have to register as a sex offender.
That same year, a woman filed a protective order against him in a separate case. He disputed her allegations, the details of which are not public, but agreed to the protective order.
In 2008, he pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated assault and served about 2½ years in prison, authorities said. He was released in 2011.
Ricin is a naturally occurring toxin found in castor beans. If inhaled, ingested or injected in a refined form, ricin can kill a person within 48 hours of exposure. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no antidote for ricin.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.