FBI investigating mailings labeled 'anthrax'

FRESNO, Calif. -- Several newspapers and television stations, along with at least one congressman's office, received envelopes Wednesday labeled "anthrax," law enforcement authorities said. Tests have turned up no evidence so far that the packages were dangerous.

Investigators said many of the mailings had the same fictitious Sacramento return address and contained an envelope marked "anthrax" and a CD labeled with an image of former secretary of state Colin Powell.

So far, all of the powder in the packages has tested negative, said FBI agent Darrell Foxworth.

The packages the agency has identified so far were sent to The San Diego Union-Tribune, the Charlotte Observer in North Carolina, two Sacramento television stations and the office of Rep. George Radanovich in Modesto, said FBI agent Steve Dupre.

"We don't have a number, but we think there are more than the ones received so far," Dupre said.

Investigators wouldn't say what was on the CD. Foxworth said officials don't know who is sending the packages.

Radanovich's office was evacuated early Wednesday after a staffer opened the mailing. Some employees went to a hospital for precautionary examinations and were released later with a clean bill of health.

Radanovich spokesman Spencer Pederson said the Republican congressman was at a meeting in Fresno when the package was opened. Pederson said later Wednesday that authorities informed Radanovich's staff the substance was not anthrax.

One entrance to The San Diego Union-Tribune was closed for the afternoon after a large envelope labeled "anthrax" was opened in the newsroom.

Members of a hazardous materials team, all wearing full protective suits, went into the building to test the package. The Associated Press office in San Diego is in the building.

Anthrax mailed to congressional offices and others in 2001 killed five people and sickened 17.


Associated Press writers Chelsea J. Carter in San Diego and Erica Werner in San Francisco contributed to this report.

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