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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


JUNE 5, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


MINNESOTA MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ANTHRAX HOAX


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that an Appleton, Minn., man pleaded guilty in federal court to mailing an envelope containing a white powder purporting to be anthrax to an Internal Revenue Service facility in Kansas City, Mo.


            Jonathan Kenneth Joyner, 21, of Appleton, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs on Wednesday, June 4, 2008, to the charge contained in a Feb. 7, 2008, federal indictment.


            By pleading guilty, Joyner admitted that he intended to convey false or misleading information regarding a biological weapon. On June 22, 2007, Joyner mailed an envelope to the IRS Fraud Detection Center in Kansas City containing the white powder (later determined to be baby talcum powder) with a letter that stated, in part, “Anthrax Breath Deep Pig Ha Ha Ha Ha.” The letter was opened by an IRS employee on June 27, 2007.


            The anthrax threat letter was mailed from a Minnesota state correctional facility where Joyner resided less than five days after Joyner received a letter informing him that his federal tax refund check was being returned to the U.S. Treasury at the request of the IRS.


            Under federal statutes, Joyner could be subject to a sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


            This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney M. Alexander Menzel, Jr. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Department of the Treasury, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.



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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html