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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Spokane

White powder sent to fed buildings not hazardous

The white powder sent in envelopes to eight federal buildings in the Northwest is not hazardous, but a Spokane FBI official said he could not say whether all the substances were the same. Frank Harrill, special agent in charge of the Spokane office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said of the white powder sent to federal buildings in Washington, Idaho and Utah, “In every instance, it tested negatively for any toxicity with regard to human contact. We don’t believe the sustance is going to cause human problems.” Envelopes were found at an FBI office in Spokane, a federal building in Seattle and Internal Revenue Service offices in Bellevue. In Idaho, the U.S. attorney’s office and an FBI office in Coeur d’Alene, an FBI office in Pocatello and the U.S. attorney’s office in Boise received envelopes. In Salt Lake City, an FBI office was also targeted. Special Agent Frederick Gutt in Seattle said overnight laboratory tests showed that the main component of the powder was calcium carbonate, which is found in chalk, according to the Associated Press. Harrill said Gutt was simply confirming the testing from a hazardous materials team that responded to the envelope that arrived in Seattle. “I cannot confirm that they all included calcium carbonate. To date they have all been inert with regard to contact. But as to exactly what it is, I don’t think we are in a position to say that,” Harrill said. Harrill also could not confirm a report by KREM that the envelopes were postmarked in Spokane. Gutt, the FBI agent in Seattle, said the powder was contained in letters that also included undisclosed threats. “I am not at liberty to discuss any potential suspects or motives or commonalities between the mailings,” Harilll said. “It remains an very active investigation, but there is nothing more we have to publicly disclose.” Local federal agents also continue to investigate a bomb left March 28 near the Thomas S. Foley United States Courthouse in downtown Spokane. Harrill said investigators have no indication that the bomb and the recent letters are connected.
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