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Woman Said to Be Arrested for Obama, Bloomberg Ricin Letters

June 7 (Bloomberg) -- A Texas woman was arrested as part of the federal investigation into ricin-tainted letters sent to President Barack Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, according to two law enforcement officials.

Shannon Richardson, of New Boston, Texas, was arrested today, the officials said, and charges probably will be filed later today, according to one of the officials, who asked for anonymity to discuss the case prior to an announcement.

The arrest is the latest in a string of ricin-related cases pursued by federal law enforcement officials in recent weeks. Individuals in Spokane, Washington, and Tupelo, Mississippi, have also been arrested and charged as part of investigations into threatening letters to public officials that have tested positive for the poison.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Police Department have been investigating anonymous letters threatening Obama and Bloomberg that tested positive for ricin. The probe is also examining similar correspondence to a staff member at Mayors Against Illegal Guns in Washington. Bloomberg is co-chairman of the group.

The letters sent to New York and Washington were postmarked in Shreveport, Louisiana, on May 20.

Ricin is made from castor beans and has been used experimentally in medicine to kill cancer cells, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. It’s harmful and potentially fatal if inhaled or ingested, according to the CDC.

The mayor of New York is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

To contact the reporter on this story: Phil Mattingly in Washington at pmattingly@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net

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