WASHINGTON — The Navy veteran accused of mailing letters containing castor seeds to the White House and Pentagon may have tried and failed to contaminate the envelopes with poison, officials said Thursday.
William Clyde Allen III, 39, served in the Navy from Oct. 28, 1998, to Oct. 27, 2002. He was arrested Wednesday in Logan, Utah, and is expected to be formally charged on Friday by the U.S. attorney in Salt Lake City, according to news reports.
“No wider threat to the public safety exists at this time,” FBI spokesperson Doug Davis told the Logan Herald Journal on Wednesday. “As it is a pending matter, that’s all we can say at this time.”
Allen was being held on a $25,000 cash-only bond, according to news reports.
The Navy had scant information of Allen. Its record search was delayed because of the plethora of Navy veterans with the name William Allen; it was not until the “Clyde” and III” were added that it connected with the arrested individual, Navy officials said.
The two envelopes caught at the Pentagon mail room on Monday were addressed to Defense Secretary James Mattis, who is traveling in Europe, and Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations. The letters had a return address linking them to Allen.
Another letter was sent to President Donald Trump at the White House.
Mail for the Pentagon and White House is handled at locations away from those main facilities.
A fourth letter was sent to the Houston office of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.).
According to information provide by the Navy, Allen spent time on USS Supply and then USS Detroit, two combat support ships. He served as a damage control fireman apprentice, according to the Navy.
Navy records show that Allen was discharged as an E-2, the second-lowest rank. He was awarded two Navy “E” ribbons, given for those winning a battle efficiency competition, a National Defense Service Medal, and two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons with one bronze star for his two deployments, the records show.
When the letters were detected, officials said there was a concern that they contained ricin, a deadly poison culled from the castor bean. However, officials said that Allen apparently was ham-handed in attempting to mash the beans and failed to create the poison.