SPOKANE, Wash. - Matthew Ryan Buquet, 38, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges he mailed five letters laced with ricin.
Two federal marshalls accompanied Buquet at his arraignment hearing. Federal prosecutors charged Buquet with one count of Developing, Producing, Possessing and Transferring a Biological Toxin. He faces additional charges for Mailing a Threatening Communication to the President of the United States and Mailing Threatening Communications.
Court documents claim Buquet made ricin between April 29th and May 14th. The toxin can be deadly in small doses according to scientists. Buquet allegedly mailed five letters containing the ricin around May 13th or 14th.
The inducement records detailed that the letter addressed to President Barack Obama said:
“We have a bomb placed, we are going to Kill you! Hezbollah”
The same statement was found in letters addressed to a judge in Spokane according to court documents.
Investigators said Buquet allegedly sent four other letters. The letters were addressed to Fairchild Air Force Base, a judge in Spokane, the CIA, and the Downtown Spokane post office. All of the letters tested positive for ricin.
FBI scientists recently confirmed the letter sent from Spokane to the Central Intelligence Agency contained ricin.
Scientists tested the letter at the National Bioforensic Analysis Center. Postal workers tracked down the letter on June 8th at the U.S. Post Office on W. Riverside Avenue in Spokane.
The letter was not delivered and was returned to Spokane according to FBI agents. Postal workers found the envelope unopened. FBI employees said the letter was not leaking any materials.
The FBI and United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) are not aware of any injuries or illnesses caused by any of the five letters recovered during the course of this investigation. No other suspect letters associated with this investigation are known to be in the mail system.
Federal authorities arrested Buquet in May for allegedly sending the letters. Authorities also searched Buquet’s apartment in Browne’s Addition.
Buquet faces life in prison if a jury finds him guilty.