federal grand jury in Salt Lake City returned a seven-count indictment
Thursday morning charging William Clyde Allen, III, age 39, of Logan,
Utah, in connection with ricin-related threats. The indictment alleges
he knowingly threatened to use a biological agent and toxin,
specifically ricin, as a weapon.
Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers of the Department of Justice’s
National Security Division, U.S. Attorney John W. Huber of Utah,
Special Agent in Charge Eric K. Barnhart of the FBI’s Salt Lake City
Field Office, Special Agent in Charge John Gullickson of the U.S. Secret
Service’s Denver Field Office, and U.S. Postal Inspector Jared D.
Bingham, Team Leader in Salt Lake City, announced the indictment.
The indictment also charges Allen with one count of mailing a threat
against the President and five counts of mailing threatening
communications to an officer or an employee of the United States in the
indictment returned Thursday morning.
Allen was arrested on a federal complaint filed Oct. 5, 2018. He was
ordered detained pending resolution of the case at a detention hearing
Monday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Dustin B. Pead found him to be a danger to
the community. Allen entered a plea of not guilty to the charges
Thursday morning in U.S. District Court. U.S. District Judge David Sam
will preside over a four-day trial starting Dec. 26, 2018, in Salt Lake
The indictment alleges the defendant sent a letter to the President of
the United States with the language “Jack and the Missile Bean Stock
Powder” and containing castor bean material.
Five counts of the indictment charge Allen with mailing threatening
communications to an officer or an employee of the United States,
including Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis; Admiral John M.
Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations; FBI Director Christopher A. Wray;
CIA Director Gina Haspel; and Secretary of the Air Force Heather
Ricin naturally exists in, and may be extracted from, the seeds of the
castor bean. The extraction of ricin from these seeds does not require
technical expertise. Small doses of ricin are lethal to human beings if
ingested, inhaled, or injected. According to Center for Disease
Control information, there are no known antidotes for poisoning from
ricin. Allen purchased 380 castor beans in December 2017 in quantities
of 100 (two purchases) and 30 (six purchases).
The potential maximum penalty for threatening to use a biological toxin
as a weapon is life in prison. Mailing a threat against The President
has a potential maximum penalty of five years in prison and mailing a
threatening communications to an officer or an employee of the United
States has a potential 10-year sentence.
Indictments are not a finding of guilt. Individuals charged in
indictments are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City, with the assistance of the
Department of Justice’s National Security Division’s Counterterrorism
Section, is prosecuting the case. U.S. Postal Inspectors and special
agents of the FBI and U.S. Secret Service are investigating the case.