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Investigation of letters with suspicious white powder expands beyond Kansas


TOPEKA, Kan. – The investigation into around 100 suspicious letters sent to Kansas legislators and public officials has now expanded beyond Kansas. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) announced yesterday that the FBI will now be the agency leading the investigation, though the KBI will continue to work with all law enforcement partners to bring these incidents to an appropriate resolution.

“Our focus remains on ensuring the safety of Kansans, and holding those responsible for these crimes accountable,” said KBI Director Tony Mattivi. “The KBI is so appreciative of the incredible coordination and outstanding response by countless federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, as well as by fire departments, and hazmat teams to this unprecedented event.” 

As of 4 p.m. Friday, June 16, over 30 letters containing a suspicious white powder had been reported across the state, prompting the KBI, the FBI, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), the Office of the State Fire Marshal, the Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP), and several local police departments, sheriff’s offices, and fire departments to all begin investigating. 

By Sunday evening June 18, approximately 100 letters containing the suspicious white powder had been received.

Since the first letters were handled and reported by officials, the KBI had over 60 special agents, forensic scientists and employees devoted to safely collecting or screening evidence, or managing and tracking response to the incidents. Additionally, 17 hazmat teams and 12 bomb squads responded across the state. 

On June 18, the KBI announced that a small sample of the letters containing powder had been sent to a laboratory that specializes in testing biological samples. Preliminary tests returned from this lab indicating the substance is presumptively negative for common biological agents of concern. 

Further and more complete testing on this sample was deemed necessary, as well as on additional letters that have been collected, in an effort to determine the components of the substance. 

Currently, no injuries have been reported. 

The KBI is stressing the importance of being vigilant when handling mail and urges everyone to report any letters containing an unknown white powder to the KBI at 1-800-KSCRIME or the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or tips.fbi.gov.

The investigation is ongoing.