Trucking Industry Receives Alert Following Ricin Threat

The Trucking Information Sharing and Analysis Center asked the trucking industry to remain alert for disgruntled trucking employees who may have made threatening statements or behaved suspiciously regarding the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The alert was issued after an envelope containing the toxin ricin and a letter threatening the FMCSA was discovered at a Greenville, S.C., postal facility in October. “The letter ‘holds hostage’ the new hours of service rule, stating that if the regulation is not rolled back before January of next year, the writer threatens to stage an incident using large quantities of this material,” ISAC stated.

The alert was posted on the American Trucking Associations website. The ATA operates the Truck ISAC in cooperation with its state trucking associations, the Trucking Security and Anti-Terrorism Working Group and the Department of Homeland Security. ISAC had worked with the Department of Homeland Security in this investigation.

The warning requests truckers to look for persons in the trucking industry or supposedly from the trucking industry who may have made threatening statements, or displayed suspicious actions regarding the U.S. DOT, especially the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
The new hours of service rule takes effect Jan. 4, 2004.

Ricin is a poison that can be made from the waste left over from processing castor beans, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Truckers, especially in the Greenville, S.C., area, have been asked to watch for individuals whose activities could indicate plans for attack and report them to federal authorities, including:

  • Persons who follow trucks, especially ones bearing hazardous waste loads, for extended time periods.
  • Individuals who photograph trucks or truck facilities from their vehicle or from public areas.
  • Those who ask questions about routes, origins, destinations, cargo and truck capacities.

    ISAC is also asking that information on attempted breaking and entering or serious security breaches following the recent Northeast blackout or Hurricane Isabel also be reported to the ISAC Watch Officer through the ATA website at www.truckline.com.

    No one has become ill from exposure to the ricin, which was discovered at a mail facility near the Greenville, S.C., airport, according to an Oct. 23 Los Angeles Times story. Brian Roehrkasse, a Department of Homeland Security spokesman, told the newspaper “We do not believe this is linked to terrorism, but is related to threats that are criminal in nature.”

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