262,000 suspicious mail items in 2021.   6,300 threats  —  are you prepared?

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October’s reported mail threats continued on a downward trend. However, the events reported were more extreme than recent months.

Drug-related incidents continued to increase, with a significant emphasis on the prisons and jails. Paper impregnated with multiple forms of illegal narcotics continue to show up in “legal mail” sent to inmates.

Because detainees have a right to privacy in legal correspondence, corrections facilities are under increased pressure on to intercept drugs without violating inmate rights.

Combined with the increased screening of correctional staff and personnel to minimize smuggling, legal mail will continue to stress jail and prison security.

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United States Mail Security Incidents

October proved to be an interesting month with mailed threats in the United States.

Drugs have continued on trend with an increase in jails and prisons as previously mentioned. Suspect packages overall fell however the total number of events remained on-trend. 

Illegal or dangerous items increased slightly this month highlighted by actual explosive ordnance showing up in a state capitol.

White powder threats targeting political leaders continued on-trend through October. Dr. Anthony Fouchi, Rep. Rand Paul, and now Rep. Ilhan Omar have all been the target, with the latest getting into the official offices of Omar. 

This mail was screened through multiple checkpoints and with that several layers of security and opened within reach of the US Representative. 

This highlights the reality that the individual or organization being targeted needs to implement a screening program if there is a valid threat. 

All three of these white powder events got to the target and with that made the news cycle meaning some form of success for the individual mailing the packages.

Oct 26, 2021

The office of U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., received a package with a “suspicious substance” on Tuesday, but law enforcement confirmed the substance is not hazardous.  Omar tweeted that her office received the package and a threat reading, in part, “The Patriarchy will rise again.'”

“Everyone on our team is okay. We reported the package to Capitol Police and they determined it to be safe,” the Democratic lawmaker added.  

Omar later tweeted that “They can send the threatening emails, phone calls and packages to distract us but nothing will ever slow us down as we serve the people of #MN5,” referencing her Minnesota congressional district.

This is not the first time in recent years a lawmaker has received suspicious substances. A package was sent to the Kentucky home of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., earlier this year containing a nontoxic substance.  

Oct 7, 2021

After a deactivated grenade and rifle round were found in a package mailed to Alaska’s Capitol recently, the agency in charge of operations asked lawmakers and staff to take more care “when mailing certain items to the Capitol.”

Jessica Geary, director of the Legislative Affairs Agency, declined to be interviewed but described the find in a memo to lawmakers this week. The memo did not specifically say when the items were discovered or who had them mailed to the Capitol. Packages arriving at the Capitol are regularly X-rayed for safety. According to the memo, an X-ray revealed the grenade and rifle round, which had been sent to a staffer. The Capitol’s security chief, Raymie Vinson, was nearby and identified that they had been deactivated and posed no threat. 

“While the items received are legal and non-lethal, requesting such items be sent to the Capitol could have serious unintended consequences. As such, please use your personal mailing address for questionable items that might cause concern if scanned by an X-ray device,” the memo said.

Oct 4, 2021

Roswell police determined an intricate drug scheme they uncovered in July funneled drugs into Georgia prisons by concealing them in laced pieces of paper, disguised as correspondence to inmates.

“This person had been purchasing cannabinoid in powder form, converting the powder into liquid form, soaked it into the paper, and that paper was then being turned into basically disguised formal correspondence being mailed into Georgia prison system for consumption,” said Tim Lupo, the Public Information Officer for the Roswell Police department.

Oct 20, 2021

Early Monday morning, Detectives with the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Nevada resident for attempting to send contraband into the county jail.

According to officials at the Sheriff’s Office, Detention Officers investigated a suspicious package marked as “Legal Mail” to an inmate being held in the Vernon County Jail. Evidence inside the package led Detectives to a Nevada residence and a suspect was arrested.

Vernon County Sheriff Jason Mosher said the suspect sent the letter with a legal firm marked as the sender, but the letter contained only a letter from the spouse of the inmate and a substance in a bag that was determined to be contraband.

Mosher said keeping contraband out of the jail is a constant battle and that his staff had just recently went through additional training on screening, detecting, and confiscating contraband when it is discovered. “People have tried mailing contraband to inmates, smuggling it in clothes, books, and even in one case a Bible,” said Mosher.

Oct 11, 2021

The incident occurred Oct. 2 at a residence on Gray Fox Dr. in Windridge subdivision off Plateau Rd. and north of Crossville, according to Deputy Jamie Wyatt’s report. No arrests have been made. The property has been the scene of issues over narcotics moving in and out of the neighborhood, according to Wyatt’s report. The homeowner asked deputies to look over a package that arrived at the residence.

A drug-detecting K-9 “hit” on the package, giving deputies cause to see what was inside. Approximately 8 grams of a white crystal substance believed to be methamphetamine was found. The package had been sent from the address on Gray Fox Dr. and later returned to the same address. The package did not have a name on it.  Also found inside was an address to an Ohio location, where it is presumed the package should have been sent.

Another envelope inside the package had a California address and was being sent to an address in the Bean Pot Campground.

Oct 26, 2021

Out of an abundance of caution, area law enforcement agencies have completely shut down access to East Basin Avenue between Kittyhawk Drive and Oyster Street as they continue to investigate a suspicious package delivered to the Nye County District Attorney’s Office at the Ian Deutch Government Complex at 1520 E. Basin Avenue.

The discovery was made just before 11:30 a.m., on Tuesday, Oct. 26. After a bomb-sniffing K-9 unit did not detect explosives at the complex, a bomb squad team was activated from Las Vegas and arrived on the scene at approximately 1:28 p.m.

Frustrated motorists trying to get to the DMV and other businesses on East Basin, were turned around by NCSO deputies and auxiliary units.

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International Mail Security Incidents

Bombings and death threats increased overseas throughout October. 

Interestingly, countries that usually have low or no reporting such as Myanmar released information about their internal threats. Although reporting was tied to the political responses to bombings and death threats it gives insight into the underlying physical threats in these countries.

Death threats through the mail have been a constant throughout the year and increased slightly this month. Overall these mailed death threats spread to individuals, not normally associated with the political news cycle but with the highlight on workplace violence recently can be expected to continue.  

Drugs fell slightly as well as criminal smuggling activities.

Oct 5, 2021

Four police officials, including a lieutenant colonel, were injured after a parcel bomb went off at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headquarters in Naypyitaw on Tuesday evening, according to police sources. 

The parcel, which had been labeled as evidence, exploded when police officials opened it, said an official who requested anonymity. “The parcel was among the evidence packages for explosion cases sent from other towns,” the official told Myanmar Now. One officer, Police Lt-Col Zaw Than, sustained serious injuries to his leg, the source said. Details of the injuries to the other three police officials were unknown at the time of reporting. Another police official in Yangon confirmed the bomb blast at the CID headquarters, but refused to disclose further details.

Oct 5, 2021

A major alert was sparked after an envelope containing a suspicious white powder was delivered to premises in Manchester city centre. Emergency services raced to the scene in Spinningfields shortly after 11:30am after the alarm was raised over the package.

Police said after being examined it was determined that the substance was not hazardous. Police said it was delivered to a building on Hardman Street just off Deansgate.

Oct 19, 2021

A teacher in southern France has received a death threat containing a photo of Samuel Paty, prosecutors say. Two French teachers in the region of Aix-en-Provence have been sent threatening letters, the public prosecutor’s office said on Monday. 

One of the letters contained an image of Paty, who was beheaded last year outside his Paris school by an 18-year-old Chechen refugee.

Oct 25, 2021

Prime Minister Janez Janša and Defence Minister Matej Tonin on Friday received threats by mail, with live ammunition being enclosed in the letters.

The threats sent to the politicians’ home addresses were later confirmed by the prime minister’s office and Tonin himself.

Oct 21, 2021

A man’s plan to deliver drugs to an acquaintance by using delivery platform Lalamove went awry after a deliveryman sent the package to the wrong unit. The illicit package containing methamphetamine, which was hidden in a back paper box within a Nespresso paper bag, was mistakenly delivered to the recipient’s neighbour, who called the police.

According to a Sport Singapore list, Chew, 37, is a volleyball coach under the National Registry of Coaches (NROC) who was suspended on 17 August last year pending investigations. The list did not specify what he was being investigated for.

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