Man accused of sending ricin-laced card charged with attempted murder

A Hatboro, Pa., man was arrested on Wednesday after he allegedly sent a ricin-laced birthday card to his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend.


Nicholas Todd Helman, 19, was arrested for the second time this month in connection with the ricin-laced card, according to NBC News Philadelphia.


A hazmat team, SWAT team, police officers and FBI officials went to Helman's home, and after a several-hour standoff, Helman was arrested and charged with attempted murder, NBC News Philadelphia reports.


Helman allegedly told his co-worker on March 7 that he sent a scratch-and-sniff birthday card to his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend. He allegedly told his co-worker that he rubbed ground castor beans, a natural producer of ricin, onto the inside of the card before sending it, according to NBC News Philadelphia.


Helman's co-worker called the police and Helman was arrested.


Helman allegedly said to police that he put sodium hydroxide on the card in an effort to scare his ex-girlfriend so they could reconcile their relationship. Investigators said he also allegedly sent threatening messages to his ex and her boyfriend in November, NBC News Philadelphia reports.


Police warned the family and removed the envelope from their home. After testing, investigators confirmed the substance on the card was ricin. Helman was charged with harassment and released on bail.


Ricin can cause injury and death if it is chewed, inhaled or swallowed.

A friend of Helman's said he was surprised to hear of the allegations, and hopes Helman is able to turn his live around.

"I've known him since Middle School. He was an odd kid," the friend said, according to NBC News Philadelphia. "I would say he wasn't always the most social kid. He was very tech savvy. He was probably the smartest kid I've ever known but he never really applied himself."