Twin Cities man charged with anthrax hoax

A Twin Cities man has been charged in connection with mailing a suspicious white powder to Dow Jones & Co.

Richard V. Kozak, 69, of Long Lake, was charged September 8 with one count of false information and hoaxes, reports. The charge came in federal court in Minneapolis in an unsealed indictment.

According to the indictment, Kozak mailed an obscene note and the white powder to a Massachusetts Dow Jones mail facility in May. The mailing was allegedly in response to a magazine offer Kozak had received from the company. The note requested he be removed from the company’s mailing list, according to the indictment.

A portion of mail facility had to be evacuated and secured by HAZMAT teams after the letter was received, reports. It was later determined that the white powder was actually baking flour, according to the indictment.

Kozak was not accompanied by an attorney during his appearance this week, and remains free following the hearing.

The charge carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison.

Following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, numerous letters containing anthrax spores were mailed to several news media offices and two U.S. senators. Five people were killed in those attacks and many others were infected.

Since that time, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies have investigated and charged numerous people nationwide with biological-weapon hoaxes and threats. Many of those hoaxes involve what was presented as anthrax.