FBI's Alaskan field office responds to white powder incident

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation's Anchorage Division recently investigated a white powder incident in a remote portion of Alaska.

The Anchorage Division is the FBI's smallest field office, but its agents are responsible for covering the most territory of any office in the Bureau. They routinely work with local law enforcement to investigate white powder incidents, which occur with relative frequency in Alaska.

"It took our partners two days to get to the place where the white powder letter was," Mary Frances Rook, the special agent in charge of the Anchorage Field Office, said. "They had to take a ferry and a plane and an all-terrain vehicle to get to the school where the letter had been sent."

Rook said that the Anchorage Division takes on the same types of crimes as the other FBI offices, but that there are a lot of differences working in an area twice the size of Texas and infinitely more remote.

"If you're in Anchorage, there are roads to Fairbanks and to the Kenai Peninsula, but other than that there are no roads," Rook said.

Agents must often use planes or boats in extreme weather conditions to access remote villages and towns. The Anchorage Division keeps two snowmobiles on hand to respond to crime scenes.

"It can be a challenging place to work," Rook said. "But the flip side is that everybody knows it. So everybody works together. We work great with each other and with our local and federal law enforcement partners. Everybody's got each other's back, because you just can't survive up here alone."