New York man sentenced to 33 months in letter hoax

Brian Norton of Cicero, New York, was sentenced to 33 months in prison on June 3 after pleading guilty to sending approximately 21 letters with substances that he claimed were either ricin or anthrax spores.

Recipients of these letters included Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), individuals connected with the public media, federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, military organizations, Lemyone College, Bishop Ludden Junior-Senior High School, and others. The letters were sent over a span of nearly 14 years beginning in November 1997.

"Mailing letters threatening imminent death and containing unknown substances is a serious crime that results in the use of precious law enforcement resources," Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Andrew Vale said. "Threatening letters, whether or not they are a hoax, will be thoroughly investigated by the FBI and our law enforcement partners."

Following the 33 month prison sentence, Norton will be placed on a three-year supervisory period upon release. This case ends the national investigation that was taken by the FBI with support from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and FBI laboratory in Quantico, Virginia. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Green.

The case was handled by the U.S. District Court in Utica.

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