FBI probes white powder in letters sent to DC schools
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The FBI on Friday is investigating more than three dozen suspicious letters containing a white powdery substance sent to schools in the capital area, leading authorities to race across the city to check for possible threats.
No hazardous substance was found and no illnesses or injuries were reported as a result of the 37 letters found so far at 32 schools, according to the FBI's Washington field office.
Four letters were found at area postal facilities, an FBI spokesman said.
They appeared to be mailed from the Dallas area where investigators have been examining similar suspicious letters, the FBI said. Last October, letters that also bore a resemblance to this latest batch were received at some Washington, D.C., schools.
The scare harked back to nearly a decade ago when letters laced with deadly anthrax were sent to media outlets and lawmakers. Five people died and 17 others were sickened in that attack, which was later linked to an Army researcher who later committed suicide.
In Washington, FBI agents, postal inspectors and local authorities scrambled from school to school over the course of 10 hours on Thursday as new letters were discovered. The scare led to "some school evacuations and tying up hundreds of hours of police and law enforcement resources," the FBI said.
The letters are being sent to the FBI's lab at Quantico, Virginia, for review. While the FBI said the letters were printed rather than handwritten and not addressed to individual people, authorities declined to provide further details.
Washington, D.C., public schools opened on a normal schedule on Friday.
(Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky, editing by Eric Beech)
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