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Powder Sent to Lawmakers ID'd as Celery Salt, Corn Starch

The suspicious powder contained in scores of envelopes sent to news organizations and U.S. lawmakers was a blend of harmless corn starch and celery salt, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday (see GSN, March 12).

Christopher Lee Carlson, 39, faces separate charges of sending threatening statements to a U.S. lawmaker and mailing a letter threatening to use a biological weapon to a U.S. senator. 

The approximately 100 letters filled with white powder that Carlson allegedly mailed from Portland, Ore., have not been found to contain dangerous materials, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Portland.

The FBI arrested the Oregon man after being tipped off by Vancouver, Wash., police following an early March conversation an officer had with Carlson's wife, Adrienne Carlson, the Oregonian newspaper reported.

"Adrienne told me that a few months ago, Chris had talked about sending letters to members of the Senate and the media to express his frustration with certain things," Vancouver police officer Leah Supriano said in her report of a March 4 encounter with Carlson's wife. Supriano was dispatched to the Carlson residence after receiving reports of potential domestic violence.

The wife said in February that Carlson confirmed mailing the letters from a post office in Portland, according to Supriano's report.

Messages inside the powder-laced envelopes sent to lawmakers' offices warned there was a "10 percent chance you have just been exposed to a lethal pathogen."

The mailer of the letters, one of which was acquired by AP, demanded an "end to corporate money and 'lobbying," an end to the principle that corporations have similar rights to people, and a new convention on the Constitution.

Carlson is anticipated to be arraigned in federal court this week (Associated Press/ABC News, March 14).

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GSN ceased publication on July 31, 2014. Its articles and daily issues will remain archived and available on NTI’s website.

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