February’s mail threats rose both in total number and effectiveness in the attacks. International threats doubled what happened in January and with Canada receiving the bulk of the events. Much of what was delivered was in the form of letters containing white-powder substances, aimed at the regional government leadership.
There were several instances with 3D-printed guns, ammunition, and weapon components that brought federal charges. As in previous months, drugs shipments, or smuggling, remain prevalent both in residences and offices settings.
This month’s mail-borne attacks hit all of the traditional categories – with the exception of explosives. The use of white-powder substances, the delivery of suspicious packages, and hoaxes caused multiple shutdowns. The use of legal mail as a means to smuggle contraband into facilities caused several overdoses and hospitalizations.
United States Mail Security Incidents
The overwhelming majority of U.S. mail threats reported in November, 2021 involved drugs and illegal trafficking, a notable increase over recent months.
Drugs both in numbers and types highlighted the numbers this month.
- White-powder and bomb threats continued to affect government organizations at both the state and local levels. The reported white-powder events caused significant responses, several evacuations, and federal charges.
- Correctional facilities saw drug smuggling attempts from staff along with the normal attempts from inmates. With the increase of connectivity and access to the internet, prisoners have weapons purchases have increased.
- Drug shipments increased in quantity overall above the level of personal use and were generally caught due to private shipping companies frustrating the packages prior to shipping.
Feb 2, 2022 — Long Island, NY
Corrections officers working inside a Long Island jail made a curious catch when an inmate was sent a suspicious package. Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office Correction officers intercepted a meat cleaver in a package mailed to the Riverhead Correctional Facility that was among other items in an Amazon shipment.
Sgt. Paul Spinella of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office said that the package was addressed to an inmate and while officers inspected the items they found and confiscated the cleaver.
“Careful inspection and processing of all mail and packages before they enter the correctional facility is critical,” Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon, Jr. said. “Any dangerous item, let alone a large knife, that makes its way into the facility could be deadly for staff and inmates alike.
Feb 7, 2022 — Kenosha, WI
A suspicious FedEx package headed from Belize to Kenosha led authorities to find more than 1 kilo of cocaine and a felony charge filed Friday against a 24-year-old Kenosha woman.
The package was opened and found to contain an envelope with a “white powdery substance inside.” The vacuum-packed plastic bag reportedly contained 1.089 kilograms that tested positive for cocaine and was deemed “far too large for personal use and is indicative of intent to sell,” according to the complaint.
Authorities also stated the defendant’s Kenosha residence has been receiving packages since 2020 from a shipper in Hong Kong that is known to be connected to individuals currently under investigation by Homeland Security for narcotics and money laundering.
Feb 8, 2022 — Jefferson City, MO
An investigation continued Tuesday, a day after the Jefferson City office of the Missouri Department of Corrections had to be evacuated when white powder was found inside an envelope.
A news release said a staff member of the department’s central office opened an envelope at about 10:45 a.m. Monday and found the substance. Fifty to 60 people were evacuated and the area was decontaminated by responders in hazmat suits.
The substance was taken for testing. About three hours later it was determined to be only acetaminophen, the ingredient used in many common pain relievers, and employees were allowed to return.
Feb 14, 2022 — Austin, TX
A Blooming Prairie man is facing multiple charges after a tip from MSP Airport Police led to a significant drug bust. 21-year-old Dylan Okorie faces eight felony drug charges, including possession with intent to sell in the first degree.
On Feb 8, an MSP Airport Police officer contacted Austin Police and advised that her police canine indicated on a suspicious package. The search of the package uncovered a large amount of marijuana and 30 mushroom candy bars.
On Feb. 9, law enforcement used an undercover officer posed as a delivery driver to drop off the package. Shortly after, surveillance found two people arriving to bring the package inside the home, then got into a vehicle and the search warrant was executed.
Feb 18, 2022 — Austin, TX
A Hernando County inmate jailed for a charge of attempted murder could spend even more time behind bars for making a bomb threat, authorities say.
Employees at the courthouse called law enforcement just after noon Thursday about having received a letter in the mail that said a bomb had been placed, according to a Hernando County Sheriff’s Office news release.
The return address on the envelop listed the name Timothy Kydd as the sender, said officials, later identifying him as a 32-year-old jail inmate. Deputies who responded to search the area did find a suspicious device near the courthouse, the office said. Once it was found to be safe, the courthouse reopened.
Investigators learned that Kydd sent a second letter threatening to send a bomb to his attorney’s office, according to the release. Kydd faces new charges of making a bomb threat and two counts of written threats to kill, online jail records show.
Feb 18, 2022 — Austin, TX
A Michigan prisoner is facing additional charges, accused of saying he sent anthrax to the U.S. District Court in Kalamazoo County. Nathon James Zink, 34, was being held at the Ionia Correctional Facility for previous charges of second-degree home invasion, arson and two counts of prisoner possessing a weapon. That’s according to court records.
New charges include two counts of mailing a threatening communication and false information and hoaxes, according to an indictment filed on Feb. 15, 2022. Investigators said Zink sent a threatening letter to a Paw Paw resident in Aug. 2020 and to a federal employee in Sept. 2020.
Court records show on Sept. 3, 2020 Zink sent a handwritten letter to the U.S. District Courthouse that said the letter contained the “chemical agent, anthrax,” and that by the time the letter was read “it will be to late for you to have already came into contact with the chemical powder.”
Feb 22, 2022 — Austin, TX
Apackage that later was determined to contain 22.1 grams of ketamine from Great Britain and bound for Kenosha led to four criminal charges, including one felony, against a 31-year-old Kenosha man. Terrence Dwight McGee, of the 1400 block of 60th Street, remained in custody in the Kenosha County Jail on a $10,000 cash bond imposed Monday by Kenosha County Circuit Court Commissioner Larry Keating.
McGee is charged with one felony count of possession with intent to deliver a Schedule I controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school, which carries a possible maximum prison term of 15 years, 10 years extended supervision and a fine of $100,000.
Feb 22, 2022 — Austin, TX
Authorities investigating a suspicious package that arrived at a Bowling Green address arrested a man and reportedly found four pounds of cocaine at the residence.
According to the Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force, surveillance was initiated Thursday by task force agents and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service following delivery of a suspicious package to an apartment on Dye Ford Road. Shortly after the delivery, agents saw Terry Tyrell Martin, 27, of Bowling Green take possession of the package.
Task force agents and postal inspectors, with assistance from Kentucky State Police and the Bowling Green Police Department K-9 Unit, executed a search warrant at Martin’s residence, resulting in the seizure of four pounds of cocaine, a handgun and $678 in cash, according to the task force.
International Mail Security Incidents
International threats overwhelmingly targeted courts and lawmakers in Asia and Australia.
Canada suffered 13 white powder threats, delivered to personal residences and offices, throughout Nova Scotia that were directed at the local and regional government leadership. The powder was tested and found to be inconsistent with multiple categories leaving the laboratories with questions about the substance itself.
The shipment of 3D-printed weapons and components shipped from the United States into surrounding countries has increased. These events have been causing significant investigations and federal charges in both the US and the receiving country.
International Mail Security Incidents
Feb 4, 2022 — United Kingdom
Royal Mail delivery office workers caught a whiff of something suspicious coming from a parcel which they discovered was packed with cannabis. The smelly substance was detected by staff at the Swadlincote’s Royal Mail delivery office, near Ashby, earlier this week when sorting through packages for delivery.
When officers arrived at the scene, they discovered a quantity of the class B drug in a number of black plastic pots inside the parcel. Officers from the Swadlincote Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT), said that the drug dealers involved had not done enough to stop the cannabis from being found. “A package collected from the post office due to a smell of cannabis,” an SNT spokesman said.
“Even with containers and tape, the smell does not get past the noses of the staff I’m afraid.”
Feb 4, 2022 — Canada
The CBSA launched an investigation after a suspicious package was intercepted at the International Mail Processing Centre in Mississauga, Ont. The parcel, headed for Manitoba, contained pieces of metal used to reinforce the plastic frame on a 3D-printed handgun.
“Making your own gun with a 3D printer is not a hobby, it’s a crime,” said CBSA’s Director of Intelligence and Enforcement Operations in Manitoba, Jeryn Peters, in a release.
“The CBSA works closely with the RCMP and other partners to stop prohibited and undeclared firearms and firearms parts from entering Canada, and will arrest and charge those responsible for such activities.”
Feb 7, 2022 — Canada
A trio of suspicious brown envelopes – at least one containing “disturbing images” and an apparent skin and eye irritant – arrived at three local constituency offices for Conservative Nova Scotia members of Parliament Monday.
Rick Perkins, the Tory member for South Shore-St. Margarets, said the lone staff member at his office in Barrington, N.S. described the envelope as being stuffed thick with papers. When the man opened the package, he saw it was full of “disturbing images” before his eyes and hands began to burn, Perkins said.
The man rushed to rinse himself off and then called 911, and also called the offices of nearby politicians, including Perkins’ second post in Bridgewater, N.S., about 140 kilometres away. An identical envelope had arrived there too, Perkins said, but staff hadn’t yet opened it.
Feb 8, 2022 — Australia
Police have swarmed Mark McGowan’s office after a mysterious white powder and a handwritten death threat were discovered at the building. Emergency services arrived at the West Australian Premier’s Rockingham office just after midday on Tuesday after a staffer reported the suspicious items.
Firefighters have cordoned off The Boardwalk office on Railway Terrace as a precaution with no person believed to have been injured.
Mr McGowan said his Rockingham office had been a target of death and bomb threats after his government introduced Covid vaccine mandates for a large part of the country’s workforce.
The premier said his staff had received threats of rape as well as constant ‘threatening’ and ‘intimidating’ messages.
Feb 10, 2022 — Taiwan
A letter mailed to the office of former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Wednesday (Feb. 9) contained joss money from Hong Kong and warned the Kuomintang against “preventing Hong Kong brethren from going to Taiwan.”
UDN reported that the letter was sent to Ma’s office in Neihu District, Taipei by “The Hoor Foon Hay Team”, and read, “Warning! Watch how you speak, Kuomintang! Do not prevent Hong Kong brethren from going to Taiwan! Those who disobey me shall perish, liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times.”
The letter was reportedly sent via international mail and bore Hong Kong stamps and postmarks. After receiving the mail, a director at the office surnamed Wang immediately reported it to the police.
Feb 10, 2022 — Canada
Three more Nova Scotia MPs were sent suspicious packages on Thursday — Liberal MPs Mike Kelloway, Andy Fillmore and Darren Fisher. Kelloway’s constituency office in Dominion, N.S., was evacuated after a suspicious package arrived in the mail. Both Fillmore, the MP for Halifax, and Fisher, the MP for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, tweeted that their constituency offices received packages containing chemical irritants.
This follows incidents in Nova Scotia earlier this week when two Conservative MPs and three Liberal members of the legislative assembly all received similar packages. Province House announced it would be closed to visitors Friday because of a security risk related to protests in Ottawa and at the Ambassador Bridge.
Kelloway’s senior adviser, Natasha Kochhar, said the package received Thursday matched the description of ones sent to MPs Rick Perkins and Chris d’Entremont.
Staff in Kelloway’s office immediately called 911 and left the office, said Kochhar.
“We’re all good,” she told CBC News a couple of hours after the manila envelope was found. “I’m definitely a little shaken up. We go to work to do our jobs, and the fact that people want to hurt us is a little scary.”
Feb 18, 2022 — France
A pregnant employee suffered a panic attack The firefighters intervened this Wednesday afternoon at the post office of Brie-Comte-Robert (Seine-et-Marne). The alert had been given by the employees after the discovery of a package giving off smoke. The witnesses were also frightened by a yellow liquid flowing from the package, reports Le Parisien . 14 employees and ten customers were evacuated from the site.
The firefighters intervened this Wednesday afternoon at the post office of Brie-Comte-Robert (Seine-et-Marne). The alert had been given by the employees after the discovery of a package giving off smoke.
The witnesses were also frightened by a yellow liquid flowing from the package, reports
Feb 18, 2022 — Canada
Correctional officers seized a package containing contraband and unauthorized items — namely 265 grams of cannabis, cellphones and cellphone accessories — at Collins Bay Institution, a federal clustered correctional centre housing minimum-, medium- and maximum-security sites.
Kingston Police, in collaboration with the Joint Forces Penitentiary Squad, managed to apprehend the suspect at the time of the seizure, notes a statement from Correctional Service Canada (CSC).
Feb 25, 2022 — Canada
A 43-year-old male and a 40-year-old female are facing firearms and trafficking charges after police raided a Transcona area home.
Police were notified by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) that a suspicious package was being sent to a residence in Transcona. An investigation was undertaken into the importation and manufacturing of Conducted Energy Weapons.
The CBSA and WPS were able to get search warrants for the home and on February 22, 2022, members of the Tactical Support Team and the WPS Firearms Investigations and Enforcement Unit executed the warrants.
Officers seized a .22 calibre rifle with ammunition, a .22 calibre shotgun with ammunition, Homemade Conducted Energy Weapons including a cattle prod, Materials used in the manufacturing of Conducted Energy Weapons, Quantities of Oxycontin and Xanax, Body Armour and a 3D Printer.
Both accused were released on undertakings as is mandated by the Criminal Code of Canada.