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Jay Dortzbach, KSL TV

Logan man arrested in White House ricin investigation

By Pat Reavy, Deseret News | Updated - Oct. 3, 2018 at 8:19 p.m. | Posted - Oct. 3, 2018 at 1:41 p.m.

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LOGAN — Federal agents arrested a Logan man Wednesday as part of a ricin investigation linked to the White House and the Pentagon.

William Clyde Allen III, 39, was taken into custody. "We anticipate filing a complaint Friday in federal court in Salt Lake City," a statement from the office of U.S. Attorney for Utah John Huber says.

Allen was being held in the Davis County Jail on Wednesday on no bail for investigation of threat of terrorism.

According to a jail booking report, Allen purchased castor beans and sent four letters containing ground castor beans to President Donald Trump, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson.

"All four letters sent by Allen tested positive for ricin poison," the report states.

Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White also said Wednesday that investigators believed the substances in the envelopes were made from castor beans, a precursor of ricin that is not dangerous. The letters were received in a shipping office and did not actually enter the White House or the Pentagon.

Huber's office said formal federal charges against Allen are expected by Friday when he is scheduled to make his initial appearance in federal court.

Several law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, served a search warrant Wednesday at a Logan home registered to Allen at 380 N. 200 West. The street Allen lives on was blocked off most of the day by a large law enforcement presence. Several tents were set up for various operations.

The FBI stated earlier in the day that "there are potentially hazardous chemicals involved." But the FBI also added, "No wider threat to public safety exists at this time."

Neighbors in Logan described Allen as a friendly man who is married. They said Wednesday's search took them completely by surprise.

"There's nothing that I saw in him that would raise red flags as far as this type of behavior. Nothing," said neighbor Darrell Robison. "I never (saw) anything in his actions that would say he's a scary guy or anything like that."

Allen was, however, convicted of attempted aggravated assault in 2008 and two counts of child abuse in 2005, according to Utah State Court records. A woman with the same last name as Allen filed for a protective order against him in 2004, court records state.

Allen served in the Navy from 1998 to 2002, according to Navy records. He worked as a damage control fireman apprentice.

Ricin is a highly potent toxin that is typically seen in a white dust form but can also be a pill or mist. Just a small amount could kill a person if it is inhaled or even touched. Chewing or ingesting castor beans can also cause injury, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Contributing: Ladd Egan, Associated Press


Pat Reavy


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