SPOKANE, Wash. -- A man accused of mailing ricin to the post office in Spokane pleaded not guilty Wednesday in federal court.
Matthew Ryan Buquet was charged with one count of mailing a threatening communication. The judge set his bail hearing for Tuesday, May 28th at 2:00 p.m.
The FBI said the 37-year-old man was arrested Wednesday afternoon. His arrest is in connection to a pair of letters containing the deadly poison ricin. The letters were discovered May 14th.
Court documents stated that the letters were postmarked in Spokane. One letter was addressed to the post office. The other was addressed to Judge Fred Van Sickle who works in the adjacent federal building according the documents filed Wednesday.
The letters were intercepted by the Postal Service, and no one was injured.
Investigators in hazardous materials suits spent most of Saturday executing a search warrant at a three-story apartment building in Browne’s Addition. Authorities searched an apartment on First between Elm and Oak. The FBI said there was no public health risk.
Neighbors in Browne’s Addition said they are still nervous.
“We have no idea and there's a lot of apt complexes, God know how many people,” said Kim Chism. “It's one apartment after the other as you can see down the block. Who knows how many people are actually in those buildings.”
FBI leaders would not confirm whether any evidence was taken from the apartment. FBI spokeswoman Ayn Sandalo Dietrich said Monday that legal documents in the case may also be sealed. Investigators said the steps they are taking are routine for this type of case.
Buquet faces ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine if a jury finds him guilty according to court documents.
Spokane police confirmed that Buquet was also a registered level two sex offender. Buquet was convicted of indecent liberties involving a 10-year-old girl. He pleaded guilty in November of 1998 and served 18 months. He was released November 14th, 1999.