Ricin as a Weapon

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Ricin as a Weapon

 

Gordon Graham
Category: Law Enforcement

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for law enforcement.

Ricin is easily weaponized when used as a contaminant for food, water, or aerosol sprays. This makes it possible to target individuals or small groups of people. 

Today’s Tip is for law enforcement officers and today I am talking about a poison that is of continued interest to terrorists.  

Imagine a substance that can be made by almost anyone with ingredients that are readily available. And can be obtained legally. It can be fatal if ingested, inhaled, or injected.  

Exposure can cause severe and painful symptoms. If enough of it makes its way into the body, death will result. A dose no larger than a few grains of salt can kill a healthy adult. I’m talking about the poison, RICIN.  

Terrorists have used ricin to target high profile people here in the United States. The reason? They know ricin is not suitable as a weapon of mass destruction, but it can be highly effective as a weapon for targeted assassination.  

Ricin is easily extracted from the castor bean and refined into an oil or powder form. When it’s delivered to the intended victim, the idea is to cause the victim to introduce it into their own body by inadvertently inhaling or ingesting it.   

All it takes is inadvertent contact with bare skin of the fingers or hands, which then contacts the mucous membranes of the nose, mouth, or eyes. There is no vaccine, no antidote, and no cure.  

There is no test for exposure or presumptive test to identify ricin in the field.   

Ricin is easily weaponized when used as a contaminant for food, water, or aerosol sprays. This makes it possible to target individuals or small groups of people.  

Please be aware of this when that suspicious white powder call comes out. Isolate the package or substance and don’t touch it.  

Call the people in your area who are trained to deal with biological weapons. If that’s not you, leave it alone! Use established handling and decontamination protocols when you suspect you might be dealing with ricin.  

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off. 

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