Alabama man sentenced for role in anthrax hoax letters

An Alabama man has been sentenced to five years of probation for his role in a series of fake anthrax letters that were mailed across the state.

Milstead Darden, who pleaded guilty in June in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to mail hoax anthrax letters, was charged with mailing letters to several offices in the state, including U.S. Senator Richard Shelby's office, reports.

The letters allegedly contained a white powder that, following testing, was revealed to be a harmless substance.

“These type letters are a threat, not a joke,” U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance told “When people open or handle letters containing white powder, they fear for their health and must endure medical precautions against poisonous contaminants. The emergency response and required testing on every potentially harmful letter is costly,” she said. “These cases will be prosecuted.”

Darden is required to pay a $500 in addition to the five years of probation, reports.

In June, Darden admitted in a plea that he had allowed another man, Clifton Dodd, to prepare the letters in Darden's truck in the parking lot of a Pell City, Ala., store. Darden then drove Dodd to the post office, where Dodd put the letters into a drop box.