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FBI suspects inmate in white powder letter mailing

Search warrant seeks DNA sample

The FBI is investigating a 31-year-old jail inmate for at least one of the recent series of white powder letter mailings.

It is unclear whether the FBI suspects Andrew Laud Barnett for any of the others, however.

Barnett was in jail in Portland when he possibly mailed a white powder letter to Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Peifer on April 26. The letter was reportedly opened by an office worker at the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Mark Hatfield O. Federal Courthouse.

In a search warrant filed by the FBI in U.S. District Court May 11, the letter reportedly threatened Peifer with death by anthrax. It encouraged Peifer to snort the powder, and contained the statement, 'I want you gone!!!!' The FBI said that the powder was determined not be toxic.

The return address was listed as 'Barnett, Andrew.' At the time, Barnett was lodged in the Multnomah County Detention Center on allegations he threw feces and urine at a corrections officer, along with previous charges of sending 'threatening communications to the Washington County Sheriff and deputies.'

According to the affidavit, this was the third threatening letter Barnett sent to Peifer over the last five months. The first was sent Dec. 22, 2011, and the second on Feb. 20, 2012.

Barnett has not yet been charged in these cases. On May 23, he was transferred to the Columbia County Jail on a U.S. Marshals hold.

The purpose of the warrant is to obtain a DNA sample from Barnett, in an attempt to link him to the threatening letters, according to the affidavit. 

However, the affidavit makes no mention of five other white powder letters that were mailed throughout Portland between May 8 and 10. They were sent to the Lloyd Center Mall, Port of Portland, Hilton Hotel, Portland State University and Oregon Health and Sciences University. Tests found no harmful substances in any of them.

On May 11, the FBI released a statement in which it claimed it had 'stopped the sender or senders ability to continue this stream of threats.'

KOIN Local 6 contributed to this story.