Speed Reads


Unknown substance leaves pair in critical condition near Russian spy poisoning site

Police in England are investigating whether a man and woman found unconscious in Amesbury were exposed to the same nerve agent that poisoned a former Russian spy and his daughter just eight miles away earlier this year.

The pair, both in their 40s, were discovered inside their home on Saturday. Wiltshire Police said it was first believed that the couple "fell ill after using possibly heroin or crack cocaine from a contaminated batch of drugs. They are both currently receiving treatment for suspected exposure to an unknown substance at Salisbury District Hospital." Several establishments the couple visited in Amesbury and Salisbury have been blocked off from the public.

Counterterrorism officials are investigating the case. In March, former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned by Novichok, nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union and Russia, and BBC News reports the same government chemical weapons lab that identified Novichok in that case is working on determining the unknown substance the Amesbury couple encountered. Authorities say they are treating the case "with the utmost seriousness."