Federal charges for Utah inmate over anthrax hoax

Federal charges are now pending against a Utah prison inmate who is alleged to have sent at least one Salt Lake City government office an anthrax threat in December.

The inmate has been charged this week with two counts of mailing threatening communications concerning an anthrax hoax, according to the indictment on file.

Several government agencies were contacted in December by the Utah Department of Corrections after investigators were told by the inmate that he had sent a letter or letters containing anthrax threats to government offices. The inmate admitted at a later time that the letters did not contain anthrax.

"Whatever might be in them, or if the letters even exist, remains to be seen," Utah Department of Corrections spokesman Steve Gehrke told DeseretNews.com. "He's told us it's not actually anthrax."

At the time, officials informed several government agencies, including the Utah Attorney General's Office, to warn them of the threat. The offices were contacted only as a precaution.

The inmate also faced several administrative charges at the prison.

The unidentified inmate is housed at the Utah Department of Corrections' Draper Facility. No information has been released as to what charges the man is currently serving time for.