Mail Security Alert: February, 2021

Mail Security Alert 2021-02 Feb.

February saw a steady-state of threats across most metrics. Targets types were spread equally across all areas and the number of threats fell with historical norms.

Overall international threats garnered more attention and carried higher damages and loss of revenue compared to the United States.

After last month’s attack on the AstraZeneca vaccine plant and this month’s school threats, we can expect an increase in mail security threats on those types of sites. 

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Mail Threat Alert February 2021.

United States Dangerous Mail Incidents

February saw a steady amount of mailed threats primarily white powder and drugs.

Both categories fell within historical norms, most responses were hazmat teams and had minimal exposure due to effective responses.

One interesting highlight is the white powder threat letters to schools as in person classes return.

Authorities are expecting this type of threat to increase as other methods to shut down schools like bomb threats are harder to avoid detection when attempting.

Feb 10, 2021

A Youngstown man who was observed with a package being tracked by federal drug agents and postal inspectors will have a detention hearing Friday in federal court after police found the package during a chase last week.

The package was detected before it was delivered by a trained narcotics dog, and when it was opened, it had a white powder inside that resembled cocaine, the affidavit said.

After the package was delivered, a person at the home took the package to a home in Youngstown. The vehicle that left the house in Farrell was in a driveway along with another vehicle, and when agents who were watching the home discovered both vehicles were gone, they found the second vehicle, which was driven by Del Toro.

City police tried to pull over the vehicle Del Toro was driving for a traffic violation, but Del Toro refused to stop, the affidavit said. The affidavit said police chased Del Toro until he came to a dead-end on East Evergreen Avenue. He stopped and ran out of the vehicle he was driving, carrying the package that was being watched, the affidavit said.

Del Toro was caught after he fell down a ravine, the affidavit said. Police also recovered the package, but the affidavit did not say if it was opened.

Feb 17, 2021

The Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office says after preliminary testing there does appear to be any threat to the school or community after Wakulla High School received a threatening letter with white powder. 

According to WCSO, at approximately 2:10 p.m. on Wednesday, after students had been released for the day, the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Resource Officer was made aware of a suspicious letter sent to Wakulla High School. 

The letter made threats of violence against the school and contained an unknown white powder, which was noted by the writer to be anthrax, WCSOs report stated. 

WCSO said the letter had been sent to the school and opened by a school administration employee, with no students present. Other deputies along with multiple other local, state, and federal agencies responded to assist in the investigation. 

According to the report, those adults on the scene who had been exposed were quarantined in an administrative office until it was deemed safe to leave. 

Feb 18, 2021

Students at Taylor County High School were evacuated Thursday after a “suspicious package” with white powder and a note inside was sent to the school. 

In a Facebook post shared Thursday afternoon, Taylor County school officials alerted parents to the ongoing situation. 

The details of the note sent to Taylor County High have yet to be released, and a preliminary test said the white powder-like substance found inside the suspicious package had no presence of biological or chemical agents or other toxic substances. 

Officials said students have been released 20 minutes early for the day and buses will run as usual. Parents also have the option to pick up their child early as well. 

The Perry Police Department released a statement in which they said there are no further threats to the Taylor County School system or the community at this time. 

Feb 19, 2021

An Albert Lea woman who was allegedly receiving packages of methamphetamine in the mail from California is facing a charge of first-degree methamphetamine possession following an investigation by the United States Postal Service Investigation Unit, the South Central Drug Investigation Unit and local authorities. 

Freeborn County District Court documents state Marivel Ramos reportedly received packages at her address on Water Street containing vacuum-sealed bags of meth concealed in teddy bears. 

As part of a narcotics investigation, agents of the South Central Drug Investigation Unit confirmed with Postal Service investigators that suspicious packages were mailed to Ramos’s address on Water Street and that Ramos picked them up.

She had reportedly had packages delivered about every 10 days for the previous six months, and each time the packages were similar in size — there would be one big package and a small one with blue tape. The court complaint specifically referenced packages delivered in late August through the middle of September. 

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Mail Threat Alert February 2021.

International Dangerous Mail Incidents

Mailed threats rose this month with an increase in injuries, lethality, news attention, and loss of revenue.

India saw several explosions with accompanying letter threats or possible letter bombs in open-source reporting.

Germany saw three devices mailed to three separate companies (Lidl, Hipp, and Wilds) all in the food industry.

The individual accused of sending them was a 66-year-old retiree with no apparent connection or background with explosives.

Feb 19, 2021

Police in Germany have launched an investigation after three parcel bombs were found at different  and drink companies.  On Thursday night, authorities confirmed that they had found and defused a suspicious package at a mail distribution centre at Munich airport. 

The parcel had been addressed to Hipp, a Bavarian baby food manufacturer, local police said. 

On Wednesday, three people were injured after a letter bomb exploded at the administrative headquarters of supermarket giant, Lidl. 

One victim was said to be “quite seriously” injured in the blast at the Neckarsulm site near Stuttgart, but all three people have since been released from hospital. 

Meanwhile, a third parcel bomb was found at a beverage manufacturer in Eppelheim on Tuesday, in the same south-western region of Baden-Württemberg. The employee who opened the package was shocked by a small explosion, police said, but no severe damage was caused. 

“It can be assumed that there is a connection between the three deliveries”, said Stefanie Hinz, head of the regional police. Investigators have stated that all three packages were sent by a fictional person, but there is no known motive. 

Germany’s Food Federation has called on its members to be extremely vigilant, especially when receiving parcels. 

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Mail Threat Alert February 2021.