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Bloomberg gets ricin-laced letter

Two letters that contained threats to Mayor Michael R Bloomberg — one addressed to him, the other to a lobbyist who works on his gun control campaign — have tested positive for the deadly poison ricin, the authorities said Wednesday.

world Updated: May 31, 2013 01:22 IST

Two letters that contained threats to Mayor Michael R Bloomberg — one addressed to him, the other to a lobbyist who works on his gun control campaign — have tested positive for the deadly poison ricin, the authorities said Wednesday.

The first letter was opened at a New York City mail center in Lower Manhattan on Friday, the police said.

Although staff members at the mail center do not appear to have become ill, several police officers who came into contact with the letter’s contents “indicated some mild symptoms the next day, including diarrhea,” and they are being treated in hospitals, the New York Police Department’s spokesman, Paul J Browne, said Wednesday afternoon. “They’re being checked out as a precaution.”

The second letter, which was opened Sunday in Washington, was addressed to Mark Glaze, the director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group Bloomberg finances and helps run. Glaze opened the letter, an official said. No injuries were reported as a result of that letter, Browne said.

A spokesman for the FBI, J Peter Donald, confirmed that the bureau was investigating the letters, but declined to comment further.

Both letters were identical in content, bore references to the debate over gun regulation and contained written threats to Bloomberg, Browne said.

Ricin can be made from castor beans, and a quantity as small as a grain of salt can be lethal if ingested.