SPOKANE, Wash. -- A man accused of mailing ricin to the post office in Spokane pleaded not guilty Wednesday in federal court.
Matthew Ryan Buquet was charged with one count of mailing a threatening communication. The judge set his bail hearing for Tuesday, May 28th at 2:00 p.m.
The FBI said the 37-year-old man was arrested following last week's discovery of a pair of letters containing the deadly poison ricin. Buquet was arrested Wednesday afternoon.
The letters were postmarked in Spokane and addressed to the post office and the adjacent federal building. They were intercepted by the Postal Service, and no one was injured.
Investigators in hazardous materials suits spent most of Saturday executing a search warrant at a three-story apartment building in Browne’s Addition. Authorities searched an apartment on First between Elm and Oak. The FBI said there was no public health risk.
FBI leaders would not confirm whether any evidence was taken from the apartment. FBI spokeswoman Ayn Sandalo Dietrich said Monday that legal documents in the case may also be sealed. Investigators said the steps they are taking are routine for this type of case.
Spokane police confirmed that Buquet was also a registered level two sex offender. Buquet was convicted of indecent liberties involving a 10-year-old girl. He pleaded guilty in November of 1998 and served 18 months. He was released November 14th, 1999.