A man in Beverly, Massachusetts was arrested today after allegedly mailing five threatening letters laced with a suspicious white powder to high-profile individuals across America. Police say Daniel Frisiello, 24, has been charged with five counts of false information and hoaxes.
Frisiello was arrested Thursday morning and is expected to appear in federal court Thursday afternoon in Worcester. Court documents reveal that investigators tied him to at least five suspicious letters originating from Boston with white power and a note implying the powder was harmful.
One letter was even addressed to "Donald Trump Jr", the son of President Trump and was postmarked in Boston on February 7, 2018. His wife reportedly opened the envelope and found the suspicious white powder a note that read, "You are an awful, awful person, I am surprised that your father lets you speak on TV. You make the family idiot, Eric, look smart. This is the reason why people hate you, so you are getting what you deserve. So shut the **** UP!"
Another such letter was sent to Nicola T. Hanna, the Interim United States Attorney for the Central District of California. It too was postmarked February 7, 2018, and a white powder was discovered inside along with a letter reading, "That’s for murdering Mark Salling! I Hope you end up the same place as Salling."
An investigation was opened and a hazardous material response as required by law enforcement. Investigators found notable commonalities among the envelopes and eventually determined the white powder was harmless. United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Andrew E. Lelling said, "This investigation should remind people that law enforcement will prioritize finding and charging those who try to cause panic by sending threatening letters containing what looks like dangerous substances."
"Beyond terrifying the victims, these incidents caused law enforcement agencies around the country to spend time and money deploying emergency response units. Thankfully, the white powder in these letters was inert and no one was harmed. This does not change the fact that the defendant allegedly used the internet, the U.S. Mail, and popular fears of biological weapons to threaten and frighten people who did not share his views, and that is something we will prosecute accordingly."
Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Boston Division said, "This investigation by the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force sends a strong message to those who seek to terrorize the public by sending powder letters through the mail. Whether real or a hoax, don’t do it. There are plenty of appropriate, lawful ways, to express your opinion and voice your displeasure, but inducing panic and sending what is believed to be a weapon of mass destruction through the mail is certainly not one of them. As alleged, Mr. Frisiello sent letters from the Boston area containing a white powder that required emergency responses all over the country."
"While we determined that the mailings did not contain toxins or poison, each of these incidents required a significant law enforcement response, a field screening of the letter’s contents, and a methodical analysis by FBI weapons of mass destruction and laboratory experts. All this comes at a cost to taxpayers’ money and diverted first responders and other limited resources away from actual emergencies," Shaw continued.
Raymond Moss, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division said, "The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is committed to keeping the U.S. Mail, its employees, and customers safe. When the U.S. Mail is used to transport dangerous or potentially dangerous items or substances, it is taken very seriously. The arrest of this individual is a result of a coordinated investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service, and other federal, state and local partners. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service will continue to investigate and bring criminals to justice to ensure the public’s trust in the U.S. Mail."
Stephen Marks, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service Boston Field Office said in a statement, "This case demonstrates the commitment of the U.S. Secret Service to fully investigate any type of threatening behavior directed towards our Protectees. It also highlights the ongoing collaborative efforts with our law enforcement partners, specifically the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and all of our state and local partners involved in the Joint Terrorism Task Force,"
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