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Originally published Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 12:18 PM

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FBI searches apartment in ricin letter case

Authorities in hazardous materials suits are searching an apartment in downtown Spokane, Wash., as they investigate the recent discovery of a pair of letters containing the deadly poison ricin.

Associated Press

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SPOKANE, Wash. —

Authorities in hazardous materials suits are searching an apartment in downtown Spokane, Wash., as they investigate the recent discovery of a pair of letters containing the deadly poison ricin.

FBI agents, Spokane police officers and U.S. Postal Inspection Service officials descended on the apartment Saturday morning.

No arrests have been made. An FBI spokesman has not said whether agents are questioning anyone in connection with the case.

Authorities have not released a motive for why the letters were mailed this week.

Despite the hazmat suits, officials say apartment residents are not at risk, and people were seen coming in and out of the building.

Ricin is a highly toxic substance. Tiny amounts can be deadly if inhaled or ingested.

There have been no reports of illness connected to the letters.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are executing a search warrant Saturday in the case of two letters containing the deadly poison ricin that were intercepted this week at a post office in Washington state.

Police say the investigation has focused on a neighborhood near downtown Spokane.

The FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Spokane police are involved, but further details were not immediately available.

Ricin is a highly toxic substance made from castor beans. As little as 500 micrograms, the size of the head of a pin, can kill an adult if inhaled or ingested.

Two letters containing the substance were intercepted at the downtown Spokane post office Tuesday. There have been no reports of illness connected to the letters.

"The crude form of the ricin suggests that it does not present a health risk to U.S. Postal Service personnel or to others who may have come in contact with the letter," the agency said in a news release Thursday.

The Postal Service said it has received no other reports of similar letters. However, the agency did investigate a suspicious package sent to a federal judge in Spokane this week and found there was no hazard.

The Spokane investigation comes a month after letters containing ricin were addressed to President Barack Obama, a U.S. senator and a Mississippi judge. A Mississippi man has been arrested in that case.

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