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Pentagon: Packages that may contain ricin found on grounds

(Charles Dharapak | The Associated Press) This March 27, 2008, file photo, shows the Pentagon in Washington. The House has approved a $716 billion defense policy bill that would give troops a 2.6 percent pay hike, the largest in nine years. The bill, which is the result of a deal struck with the Senate, also would allow the president to waive sanctions against countries that have bought Russian weapons but now want to buy U.S. military equipment. The Pentagon says the waiver would help countries such as India that are seeking to “pull away from the Russian orbit.’’ The bill now goes to the Senate.

Washington • A Pentagon spokesman says authorities found at least two packages suspected of containing ricin, a poison made from castor beans.

Spokesman Chris Sherwood said the FBI was investigating and few details were available. He said the packages had been found Monday at a delivery facility that is on the Pentagon grounds but not inside the main building that includes the offices of the defense secretary.

Sherwood said the packages were addressed to a person at the Pentagon. He would not reveal the name.

Ricin is part of the waste “mash” produced when castor oil is made. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if it is made into a partially purified material or refined, ricin can be used as a weapon capable of causing death under certain circumstances.

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