Two arrested for mailing hoax letters

PELL CITY, AL (WBRC) – U.S. postal inspectors have announced the arrest of two men for mailing letters containing white powder at the Pell City Post Office.

38-year-old Clifton Lamar Dodd and 38-year-old Milstead Earl Darden were arrested on charges of mailing hoax letters Saturday after they deposited letters into an outdoor drop box. Investigators say that around 8:00 p.m., Dodd dropped off  eight letters in the box and was arrested once postal authorities opened the box to find letters leaking white powder with similar handwriting to earlier letters.

Dodd is a suspect in the mailing of 17 letters in March and April that contained the powder. One of the letters was received at U.S. Senator Richard Shelby's office in Birmingham. Other recipients included several officials in Talladega County and inmates who were at the Talladega County Jail with Dodd.

Authorities say the hoax letters from March and April are not connected to 11 letters mailed in January to U.S. senators and representatives in Alabama. Dodd and Darden are not considered suspects in that case.

"When people receive or handle mailed letters that contain white powder, they are put in fear of whether their health is at risk and must endure medical precautions against poisonous contaminants," said U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance. "The response and testing required on every potentially hazardous letter costs taxpayers thousands of dollars. We will always thoroughly investigate and vigorously prosecute these cases."

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