Friday, Oct. 5, 2018|4:30 p.m.
SALT LAKE CITY– A Navy veteran was charged Friday with threatening to use a biological toxic substance as a weapon by sending letters to President Donald Trump and other leaders including ground castor beans, the substance from which the poison ricin is derived.
William Clyde Allen III, 39, informed detectives he desired the letters to “send out a message,” though he did not elaborate, FBI private investigators stated in documents submitted in U.S. District Court of Utah. Authorities zeroed in on Allen after finding his return address on the envelopes, according to the complaint.
The envelopes that evaluated positive for ricin also had a note that said “Jack and the Rocket Bean Stock Powder,” the documents said.
U.S. Lawyer for Utah John Huber decreased to comment on Allen’s mental state, however stated the case is “no laughing matter.”
“When you’re handling thought ricin, this is absolutely nothing to trifle with,” Huber said.
Throughout a court hearing Friday, Allen sobbed as he told a judge that his partner struggles with a back condition and he helps her put on her shoes in the morning. He smiled at relative and said he had actually been looking forward to an upcoming basic conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He did not get in a plea, and his lawyer, Lynn Donaldson, did not comment.
Allen could face up to life in prison if convicted on the biological contaminant charge, one of five counts in the problem. He’s likewise charged with four counts of making dangers through the mail, which carry 10-year sentences.
The envelopes were mailed to the president, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the Navy’s top officer, Adm. John Richardson, authorities said.
They were intercepted and no one was injured. The FBI stated all of the letters checked positive for ricin.
Allen told investigators he also sent comparable letters to Queen Elizabeth II, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the secretary of the Air Force, though it’s unclear whether those envelopes had been found. The case is anticipated to precede a grand jury and Allen could deal with additional charges at a hearing Oct. 18.
Allen was arrested Wednesday at his house in the small city of Logan, north of Salt Lake City. He told private investigators he had acquired castor beans on eBay “in case Word Ware III broke out,” so he might “protect our nation.”
He is being held on a $25,000 cash-only bond, though U.S. Magistrate Judge Dustin Pead is anticipated to examine that on Oct. 15.
Allen served in the Navy from 1998 to 2002, according to Navy records. He has a criminal record in Utah including child abuse and attempted worsened attack.
He’s likewise had a history of sending out threatening emails over the last couple of years to then-President Barack Obama, the Flying Force and the state of Utah, detectives said.