Colo. man senteced for anthrax hoax letters

A Colorado man has been sentenced for sending anthrax hoax letters to President Obama, members of Congress from Colorado and Alabama, and Argentine consulates consulates.

Jay DeVaughn, 41, who faces up to five years in prison, allegedly sent threatening letters containing a white, powdery substance and a reference to anthrax, reports.
Most of the letters named a Denver-area doctor as the return address, and most listed the sender’s opposition to healthcare reform, reports. Although the substance contained in the letters proved benign, appropriate emergency response teams were dispatched each time a letter was received.
DeVaughn’s letters mimicked letters sent through the postal service in 2001, when five people died and 17 were harmed when anthrax was sent to various individuals. Anthrax hoaxes have greatly increased since then.

According to the Los Angeles Times, by early 2009, approximately $50 billion had been spent to prevent anthrax attacks. The years between 2007 and 2009 alone were witness to roughly 1000 FBI-investigated anthrax letter events.

Anthrax is an infectious disease occurring naturally in certain animals. While not generally passable from human-human contact, the inhalation of anthrax spores is extremely dangerous. Cutaneous forms of anthrax are often treatable, but inhaled anthrax spores are fatal in 75 percent of cases, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.