Although investigators aren't linking him to the series of white powder mailings throughout North Texas, Michael Wayne Patterson was arrested Thursday by federal law enforcement officers and was detained today pending an August 30 detention hearing, according to U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks.
Patterson's handwriting and fingerprints were found on envelopes sent to an IRS facility in Austin on August 14 and discovered at a Dallas post office on August 16 that was addressed to a Social Security Administration facility in Baltimore. Both contained a white substance that was tested and determined to be baking soda.
Patterson, 51, is charged with two counts of conveying a hoax and false threat by mailing the envelopes, each of which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The full release is after the jump.
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DALLAS MAN ARRESTED FOR MAILING ENVELOPES CONTAINING WHITE POWDER TO IRS AND SSA
DALLAS - Federal law enforcement officers arrested Michael Wayne Patterson, 51, of Dallas, yesterday for intentionally conveying a hoax and false threat by mailing envelopes containing a white powder, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. Patterson appeared this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Irma C. Ramirez, who ordered him detained pending a detention hearing set for Monday, August 30, 2010.
At this time, investigators have no reason to believe Patterson is responsible for the string of white powder mailings that have come to be known as the "Governors'" or "Embassy" mailings or the white powder mailings that began in North Texas on August 5, 2010.
According to the affidavit filed with the criminal complaint, on August 14, 2010, an envelope containing a plastic zip-lock "baggie," filled with an unknown white powder, was delivered to an IRS facility in Austin, Texas. After IRS employees opened the envelope and discovered the white powder, the facility was evacuated. The powder was later tested and determined to be baking soda.
A few days later, on August 16, 2010, employees at the U.S. Postal Service Dallas Main Post Office discovered an envelope, addressed to a Social Security Administration (SSA) facility in Baltimore, Maryland, leaking white powder. Investigators opened the envelope; inside was a small piece of foil containing a white powder. The powder was tested and determined to be baking soda.
Handwriting and fingerprint analysis concluded that Michael Wayne Patterson had addressed both envelopes.
A federal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offenses charged, and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The offense of intentionally conveying a hoax and false threat carries a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, per count. The government has 30 days to present the matter to a federal grand jury for indictment.
The case is being investigated by SSA, Office of the Inspector General; Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration; and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Yanowitch is in charge of the prosecution.