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updated: 6/7/2013 4:26 PM

Texas woman charged in Obama ricin threat

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  • Shannon Richardson, right, is led from the emergency room Friday at CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System in Texarkana, Texas. Richardson made an initial appearance in a Texarkana courtroom after being charged with mailing a threatening communication to the president.

      Shannon Richardson, right, is led from the emergency room Friday at CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System in Texarkana, Texas. Richardson made an initial appearance in a Texarkana courtroom after being charged with mailing a threatening communication to the president.
    Associated Press

 
Daily Herald wire reports

TEXARKANA, Texas -- A pregnant Texas actress who told FBI agents that her husband had sent ricin-tainted letters to President Barack Obama and New York City's mayor has been charged with threatening the president.

Shannon Guess Richardson was charged Friday in Texarkana, Texas. She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of mailing a threatening communication to the president.

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U.S. attorney's office spokeswoman Davilyn Walston says Richardson was arrested earlier in the day for mailing ricin-laced letters last month to President Barack Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

It wasn't immediately clear if she has an attorney.

FBI agents wearing hazardous material suits were seen going in and out of Richardson's house on Wednesday in New Boston, about 150 miles northeast of Dallas near the Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Richardson "continued to deny" that she had ordered the castor beans used to create the ricin, and claims that her husband, Nathaniel Richardson, "typed the letters and made her print and mail them," according to an FBI agent's statement.

The FBI and the New York City Police Department have been investigating anonymous letters threatening Obama and Bloomberg that tested positive for ricin. The probe is also examining similar correspondence to a staff member at Mayors Against Illegal Guns in Washington. Bloomberg is co-chairman of the group.

The letters sent to New York and Washington were postmarked in Shreveport, Louisiana, on May 20.

Ricin is made from castor beans and has been used experimentally in medicine to kill cancer cells, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. It's harmful and potentially fatal if inhaled or ingested, according to the CDC.

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