Suspicious powder mailed to Alabama offices

At least one of the envelopes included a Montgomery post mark.
At least one of the envelopes included a Montgomery post mark.

Posted by: Mark Bullock - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Reminiscent of the 2001 anthrax scare, several envelopes containing white powder launched a full scale investigation in Alabama Monday. The FBI reports the envelopes showed up at federal buildings and congressional offices across the state.

The first envelope was discovered Sunday at Birmingham's federal courthouse where a haz-mat team was called in to investigate.

On Tuesday, a second letter was found at the federal building in Anniston. Authorities there evacuated government employees.

"Until we find out differently, we treat this as a bad product that could hurt people," said the Anniston fire department's David Collins.

In all, nine letters were delivered in four cities -- Birmingham, Anniston, Mobile and Montgomery.

In Montgomery, the federal courthouse and the Montgomery office of Senator Richard Shelby were targeted. Congressman Bobby Bright's office did NOT receive a letter as previously reported by the FBI.

"We are investigating, along with our Birmingham office, the receipt of a series of alleged threatening letters that allegedly contained a biological agent," said FBI Special Agent in Mobile, Timothy Fuhrman.

An envelope received by Congressman Jo Bonner's office in Mobile included a Montgomery post mark.

Testing is underway by the state health department to determine the identity of the powder. But the FBI says it's not Anthrax and is not dangerous to the public.

Preliminary tests indicate it may something as benign as artificial sweetener.

"Fortunately, our field testing has indicated that the item is not a biological agent," Agent Fuhrman said.

If you know who may have sent the letters, you're asked to contact the FBI office in Mobile at (251) 438-3674.

The U.S. Postal Service is offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information that catches who's responsible.

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