William Clyde Allen III was arrested by authorities in 2018 in connection with ricin detected on mail that was sent to government officials in early October 2018. Ricin was detected on two envelopes sent to the Pentagon on October 1, and top military officials were the intended targets. Later reports indicated that another suspicious envelope was sent to President Donald Trump along with two to Ted Cruz’s campaign headquarters, and these were being tested.
1. William Clyde Allen III Is from Utah & Served in the Navy for Four Years Before Leaving in 2002. He Served 17 Months & 15 Months on Support Ships
William Clyde Allen III, 39, was arrested in October 2018 on suspicion of sending the threatening letters. He’s a Navy veteran from Logan, Utah. He served in the Navy for four years as an enlisted sailor and left in 2002, CBS News reported.
A federal grand jury returned a seven-count indictment on October 18, 2018, charging Allen in connection with the threats.
Allen enlisted in the Navy in October 1998 and left in October 2002 at the rank of E-2, Military Times reported. In March 2002 he achieved the rank of a damage control fireman apprentice. He attended the Surface Warrior Officer School at Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois.
He spent 17 months on a combat support ship, Supply, and 15 months on the support ship Detroit, Military Times reported. On two occasions he received a unit-wide commendation, a Navy “E” ribbon. He also received two Seas Service Deployment Ribbons and a National Defense Service medal, KUTV reported.
Officials at the time said that the suspicious packages, including two that tested positive for ricin, were suspected to be part of a coordinated effort by a former Navy sailor, Fox News reported. A return address led on the first two envelopes sent to the Pentagon led investigators to the sailor. A tip from the White House led the Pentagon to discover the packages.
2. He Had Trouble with the Law in the Past, Including a Child Sex Abuse Case & an Aggravated Assault Case
In 2004, two years after he left the Navy, he was charged with a child sex-abuse case with two girls that he had a “relationship of trust” with, the Associated Press reported. He pleaded guilty to neglect and abuse charges and was not registered as a sex offender. Later that same year, a woman filed a protective order against him. He disputed but agreed to the order.
According to state court documents, Allen had trouble with the law in the past, KUTV reported. In 2008, he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in Davis County. He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail and was released in 2011, Fox News noted.
A motive for the mailings was still under investigation when he was charged, authorities said.
Ricin is a toxic compound that is lethal in even tiny doses. It is 6,000 times more potent than cyanide. It’s extracted from castor beans and a dose that’s the size of a few grains of table salt can kill an adult person. It can come in different forms, but the purified powder is the most deadly.
If ingested, ricin can cause internal bleeding, nausea, vomiting, organ failure, and death.
3. One Envelope Was Addressed to Secretary of Defense James Mattis & Contained a 5×8 Card, & One was Addressed to Admiral John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations, & Suspicious Packages Were Possibly Also Sent to Trump & Cruz
Authorities confirm the name of man suspected of mailing ricin to the president as William Clyde Allen, III of Logan. pic.twitter.com/ZN3d807DjO
— Ginna Roe (@GinnaRoeKUTV) October 3, 2018
One of the envelopes that tested positive for ricin was addressed to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, The New York Post reported. This envelope and the second envelope were intercepted before they were delivered to the Department of Defense headquarters in Virginia. The letter addressed to Mattis, who is out of the country, had a 5×8-inch card with something written on it, but the content hasn’t been shared publicly, CBS reported.
A second envelope that tested positive for ricin had been addressed to Adm. John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations. When the two envelopes arrived, they triggered security alarms at an off-site mail processing center, The Military Times reported. Positive ricin results are very rare.
Tests determined that both envelopes contained a castor bean substance, which is an ingredient used in making ricin, CBS News reported. Dana White, Pentagon spokeswoman, said that castor seeds were in the two envelopes. If swallowed, castor seeds can release ricin.
The FBI was investigating the packages, and mail that arrived with the packages was temporarily put on hold. Each envelope and package sent to the Pentagon undergoes a physical screening, along with additional screenings, The Military Times reported.
In a statement, Army Col. Rob Manning, Pentagon spokesman, said: “On Monday, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency detected a suspicious substance during mail screening at the Pentagon’s remote screening facility. The envelopes were taken by the FBI this morning for further analysis.”
On October 1, an envelope suspected of containing ricin was sent to President Trump. However, the envelope never actually entered the White House. It was intercepted before it got close to the president. Something similar happened in September 2020 in a separate ricin case.
The Secret Service said in a statement in October 2018: “The Secret Service can confirm receipt of a suspicious envelope addressed to the President on Oct. 1, 2018. The envelope was not received at the White House, nor did it ever enter the White House. As a matter of practice, the Secret Service does not comment regarding matters of Protective Intelligence. However, in this instance, we can confirm that we are working jointly with our law enforcement partners to fully investigate this matter. Further, all threats directed towards the President, or any Secret Service protectee, are treated seriously and fully investigated.”
Also on Tuesday, two people were hospitalized from Ted Cruz’s office in Houston after they came in contact with a white powdery substance. The ninth floor of the Phoenix Tower was evacuated, but all tests came back negative. It’s not known what the substance was or if it was connected to the other incidents.
4. William Allen’s Facebook Page Talked About Science, His Faith & the 99% Versus the 1%
A Facebook account that shares Allen’s full name and location and contained posts about Christianity, science, the golden ratio, and videos about extracting cyanide from apple seeds, the New York Times noted. Military Times also referenced the same Facebook page.
One of that page’s last posts read, “The ninety-nine percent are just a bunch of Zero’$,” which you can see above.
Other posts talked about the “marvelous and curious workmanship of everything” in the universe and the “paranoid schizophrenic stocker” that is the news media. One post from late September read: “You know your gettin swindled, because somebody is talkin to you about money. The Earth and its materials are free. Consider inhabiting a new flourishing planet , root of all….” [sic]
Another post was addressed to the “1%ers” and basically accused them of buying other people. “Thou sayest it’s not legal to buy a human but thine example is far from lauding such a law…” You can see that full post below:
The Military Times also referenced a site called Counter Domestic Terrorism, which has claimed that Allen used his Facebook page to dox another veteran. The site provided screenshots to back up its claims, but Military Times said it couldn’t validate the claims. The website says that Allen had attempted to dox the home address of a veteran and her two children, and also made vague threats that implied people were going to kill them. According to the site, he jumped into a conversation when the woman was mad about inappropriate photos that were sent to her. He revealed her home address and then implied that the man who sent the photo was on his way to kill her. The site says that the police were contacted about the threats.
Some of Allen’s other posts included talking about the righteous in a faith-based post:
Discussing the marvelousness of the universe:
And referring to the news media as being like a paranoid schizophrenic:
5. Potentially Hazardous Chemicals May Have Been Found in Utah
— amacavinta (@amacavinta) October 3, 2018
The FBI said that officials conducted an operation at 308 N. 200 West Logan, Utah on Wednesday that involved potentially hazardous chemicals. Individuals were asked to avoid that area, but there is “no wider threat to public safety at this time,” the Logan City Police Department said.
This wouldn’t be the first time that ricin has been used to poison mail in the United States. In May 2013, anonymous letters were sent to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg with traces of ricin on them. A letter was also sent to Mark Glaze, who was then the director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns in Washington, D.C. A letter was also sent to President Barack Obama.
Shannon Richardson was charged with the crime and pleaded guilty. She was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Richardson lived in New Boston, Texas, when the letters were sent. They had low concentrations of ricin and were discovered before there were any injuries or fatalities. The letters read: “You will have to kill me and my family before you get my guns. The right to bear arms is my constitutional God-given right. What’s in this letter is nothing compared to what I’ve got planned for you.”
Richardson had minor roles on shows like The Walking Dead and The Vampire Diaries. She originally blamed her husband but didn’t pass a polygraph. Her computers had texts of the letters, and her husband was at work when the letters were printed. She then claimed that she mailed the letters because her husband forced her to do so. Her husband denied her allegations.