Letters containing fentanyl sent to election offices in 6 states. Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson calls it ‘domestic terrorism’
Suspicious letters, some that contained antifa symbols, were sent to offices in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Texas and Georgia
The FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are investigating suspicious letters containing white powder sent to public officials, mainly in election offices, according to CNN. The letters were sent from the Pacific Northeast to Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Texas and Georgia.
So far, letters sent to election offices in Fulton County, Georgia, and Kings and Spokane counties in Washington were confirmed to be laced with fentanyl by law enforcement officials, PBS reported. Another county in Washington confirmed the white powder to be baking soda.
King County elections director Julie Wise told CNN that after staffers saw white powder in the letter on Wednesday, 150 workers were evacuated for three hours, and ballot counting for the previous day’s elections was delayed.
There have been no reports of those in contact with the letters suffering ill health effects, officials told NBC.
The letter to Fulton County had been tested and confirmed in transit but failed to be intercepted. On Friday, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger posted to X, “Our federal law enforcement partners notified us this afternoon that the letter sent by domestic terrorists to the Fulton County Elections Office has been successfully intercepted.”
Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson responded to the situation in a press release. She said, “I stand with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in condemning such acts of domestic terrorism.”
In an X post, she continued, “We have no reason to believe Utah is a target, but in light of suspicious letters mailed this week to election offices in several other states, we are encouraging county election officials to be alert. Utah’s general election is Nov. 21.”
Letters sent to election offices in Washington contained anti-election sentiments, per the Washington broadcasting station KUOW.
JUST IN: @komonews obtained these pictures, showing the threatening letter that forced the evacuation of the Pierce County Elections Office. A white powder was found with the letter. Nobody was hurt. The letter ordered officials to "end elections now." As you see, it was… pic.twitter.com/WNNG93IUaR— Ryan Simms (@RyanTVnews) November 9, 2023
The election office in Lane County, Oregon, also received a suspicious letter on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. Lane County elections spokeswoman Devon Ashbridge told AP that officials decided to close the office early after the incident. “Someone attempted to terrorize our elections staff, and that’s not OK,” she said.
In Texas, a similar letter sent to state Attorney General Ken Paxton caused the evacuation of two floors of a government office in Austin, Texas. Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Ericka Miller told CNN they were investigating the “letter containing an unknown substance.”
In California, two suspicious letters on their way to election facilities in Sacramento and Los Angeles were intercepted by USPS, The Associated Press reported.
In Nevada, Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar released a press statement about the letters. He said, “We are aware of the reports of suspicious letters addressed to election offices in multiple states, including Nevada, and we are in communication and coordinating with federal, state and local agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Service, the Nevada Department of Public Safety and the Office of the Governor. As this is an ongoing investigation, we have no further comment at this time.”
A Department of Justice spokesperson said on Thursday, “We are aware of the reports and the FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service are investigating this matter. We have no further comment at this time,” per ABC.
The FBI said, “The public can be assured that law enforcement will continue to keep the public’s safety as its top priority,” ABC reported. “The FBI would also like to remind everyone to exercise care in handling mail, especially from unrecognized senders. If you see something suspicious, please contact law enforcement immediately.”