Powder Mailer Strikes Again

An unidentified individual or group of people this month has sent 30 powder-filled letters to businesses and other sites in three states, part of an apparent campaign that has involved hundreds of mailings and reached eight U.S. embassies, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, Dec. 17, 2008).

All but five of the most recent letters were dispersed in the Dallas area, while the others went to Chicago, the Texas cities of Austin and Lubbock and Waltham, Mass., the FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service stated. All the letters appeared to have been sent from north Texas.

"The letters all have the same postmarks, the same content and similar return addresses that lead us to believe they are coming from the same person or persons," said FBI Special Agent Mark White. The targets included churches, mosques and aeronautics or technical firms.

The envelopes had been received from Aug. 5 to Friday, each filled with an apparently harmless powder and a one-sentence message that cites the terrorist group al-Qaeda but is otherwise confusing, White said.

"Nobody understands what they're trying to say," he said. "The message itself is unclear. But by taking that extra step and putting that white powdery substance in there, yes it's considered a threat."

The FBI suspects that this recent wave of letters is the work of the person or persons who have mailed more than 250 powder-filled envelopes since 2008. A $100,000 reward is being offered for information that enables authorities to charge and prosecute the perpetrators (Diana Hedgerd, Associated Press/Time, Aug. 13).

August 16, 2010
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An unidentified individual or group of people this month has sent 30 powder-filled letters to businesses and other sites in three states, part of an apparent campaign that has involved hundreds of mailings and reached eight U.S. embassies, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, Dec. 17, 2008).