DALLAS (CN) - A North Texas man mailed more than 500 white powder hoax letters around the world, claiming to be from al Qaida, causing government agencies to waste an enormous amount of resources, federal prosecutors say.
Hong Minh Truong, 66, of Rowlett, was arrested Monday and accused of sending the letters in a long-running feud with federal law enforcement. Huong is charged with criminal hoaxing, including in one threat letter he sent to a preschool.
In an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint, an FBI agent said Truong sent the white powder-laced letters to U.S. government offices around the world, aerospace companies, schools, daycares and several hotels near Super Bowl XVIII in New Jersey.
"For almost six years, letters containing white powder - and believed to have been mailed by the same individual - have elicited law enforcement and public safety responses from numerous local, state and federal agencies," Dallas FBI Agent in Charge Diego Rodriguez said Monday after Truong's arrest.
"While it was determined that the mailings did not contain toxins or poisons, each incident required a field screening of the letter's contents, which cost taxpayer dollars and diverted first responder resources."
U.S. Magistrate Judge Irma C. Ramirez ordered Huong held in federal custody. If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
About 519 hoax letters were mailed from the Dallas area to cities across the country and to U.S. embassies abroad, FBI Agent David Rogers II said in the affidavit.
The FBI believes that the language in the letters and the method of sending them indicate that one person, Truong, is responsible.
In letters mailed on May 7, 2012, this statement was made, according to the affidavit: "Al Qaeda back! Special thing for you What the hell where are you Scooby Doo, Counter Intelligence, CIA, you do not know how to catch the triple dealer spy in your law enforcement. What the hell where are you Scooby Doo, Internal Affairs, FBI, you don't know how to arrest the bad cop in your law enforcement. You all flaming idiot, ignorant and arrogant, know nothing! How to protect this country! U.S.A. We are Al Qaeda, U.B.L FBI, Al Qaeda, SS Nazi FBI, working in your agency. We claim everything."
These particular letters were sent to pre-schools and elementary schools across the country and to Lockheed Martin facilities in Grand Prairie, Texas, according to the affidavit.
Hazardous materials teams were sent to many recipients, including Mi Escuelita Preschool Crossover in Dallas, prosecutors said.
Letters sent in June 2013 resulted in 28 public schools in Boston getting HAZMAT responses.