SALT LAKE CITY — A Navy veteran in Utah has been charged with threatening to use a biological toxin as a weapon by sending letters to President Donald Trump and other leaders containing ground castor beans, the substance from which ricin is derived.
Charging documents filed Friday in U.S. District Court say 39-year-old William Clyde Allen III told investigators he wanted to "send a message," though he did not elaborate.
Allen, who cried in court while speaking about his ailing wife, could face up to life in prison if convicted on one of the five charges.
He did not enter a plea and his attorney was not available for questions.
Authorities say the envelopes were mailed to Trump, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the Navy’s top officer, Adm. John Richardson. Some allegedly had Allen’s return address.
Investigators say the letters were intercepted.