SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Oct. 18, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — A man accused of mailing ground castor beans — the ingredient for the toxin ricin — to the White House, the Pentagon and other locations pleaded not guilty to an indictment Thursday.
A federal grand jury returned a seven-count indictment against William Clyde Allen III, on charges of threatening to use a biological toxin as a weapon, mailing a threat against the president and mailing threatening communications to an officer or employee of the United States.
Allen, 39, pleaded not guilty in an appearance in U.S. District Court. The judge set a Dec. 26 trial date. Allen faces life in prison if convicted.
The indictment said Allen is accused of mailing a substance the FBI claims tested positive for ricin to President Trump at the White House, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Navy Admiral John Richardson at the Pentagon, FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Air Force Secretary Dr. Heather Wilson.
A federal complaint filed Friday, Oct. 5 against Logan resident Allen said he confessed to mailing ground castor beans to a longer list of officials that previously known.
This list included Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The FBI statement also says that on Trump’s packet at least, Allen, 39, included his return address in Logan, which led officials to his doorstep, where they took him into custody on Oct. 3.
The complaint stated that Allen has a history of terroristic threats and other menacing behavior, and that federal officials have been to his house before.
“Allen III explained he had sent those letters on or about September 24, 2018 from a post office near his house,” says the new federal complaint, signed by FBI Special Agent Matthew B. Foulger.
“Allen III stated he had also placed castor beans in each envelope. Allen III further informed he had sent other letters with the same contents to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Queen of England, President Vladimir Putin and the Secretary of the Navy (whose name he did not remember).”
Allen is a Navy veteran.
“Allen III said he sent the letters to send a message. He did not elaborate with regards to the message he intended to convey.”
Allen also told investigators he had performed Internet searches to find the addresses hours before he mailed the ground castor beans, and also did research on castor beans, which can be refined into ricin, on his home devices. Allen also directed officers to a bag containing more castor beans, stored in his basement, the statement says.
If inhaled, a small amount of ricin can cause difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting. It can lead to death in 36 to 72 hours, the statement said, adding there is no known antidote.
A search of Allen’s eBay records showed that on Dec. 3, 2017, he had made two purchases of castor beans in quantities of 100 and 300, the statement says.
The FBI statement also cites several examples of threats or suspicious behavior.
“For example, in 2015, Allen III sent an email to the CIA threatening to kill the president if the agency did not stop infringing on his Constitutional Rights. United States Secret Service Agents interviewed Allen III at his Logan, Utah, residence regarding this threat.
“Furthermore, Allen III sent a bomb threat to Lackland Air Force Base, Bexar County, Texas, in February of 2017, which read ‘I have a bomb to kill your people.'”
Allen was interviewed again, the statement says, and admitted to sending the email.
On Dec. 3, 2017, Allen used his Facebook page to post a video about how to extract cyanide from apple seeds.
And on Sept. 26 of this year, Allen sent an email to the Utah Department of Public Safety, entitled “Multiple Imminent Radiation attacks …,” the FBI statement says. The agency confirmed the email came from Allen.