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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Southwick Man Pleads Guilty to Sending Threatening Letters and White Powder to Federal Agencies in Springfield

BOSTON – A Southwick man pleaded guilty today to sending two packages, containing white powder, to federal agencies in Springfield.

Kevin A. Johnson, 47, pleaded guilty to two counts of conveying false information and hoaxes. U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni scheduled sentencing for Feb. 6, 2020. Johnson was charged by criminal complaint and arrested on Nov. 30, 2018.

Between July and November 2018, FBI’s Springfield Office and the Springfield Social Security Administration Office (SSA Springfield), collectively received three packages containing either threatening communications and/or suspicious substances. The Springfield Branch Office of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts received a letter from an individual claiming responsibility for sending the packages. All of the packages contained a piece of white-lined paper with a hand-drawn logo that appeared to combine the “anarchist A” symbol (the capital letter “A” surrounded by the letter “O”)  and the symbol for ISIS, a foreign terrorist organization. Two of the packages contained suspicious white powder.

On July 23, 2018, security cameras at the FBI Springfield Office captured an individual throwing a manila envelope at the front door. The package contained a handwritten note saying: “Death to TRUMP.”

On Oct. 23, 2018, SSA Springfield received a package containing white powder and a handwritten letter stating, among other things: “FOR ALLAH YOU DIE, ATHENA KNOWS YOUR LIES, DEATH TO YOU TRAITORS, AND THE FU----- FBI.” 

On Oct. 24, 2018, the FBI Springfield Office received a package through the mail addressed to “AGENT UNCLE HAM.” The package contained white powder and a handwritten note stating: “FOR ALLAH YOU DIE, ATHENA KNOWS YOUR LIES, DEATH TO THE N.O.R.A.D SPIES, AND THE FBI.”  The Massachusetts State Police Laboratory later found the white powder in the packages to contain no hazardous materials.

The charges of false information and hoaxes provide for a sentence of up to five years in prison, one year of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. The charges of mailing threatening communications provide for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Joseph W. Cronin, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division; Scott Antolik, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Boston Field Division; Stephen A. Marks, Special agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service, Boston Field Division; and Southwick Police Chief Kevin A. Bishop, made the announcement today. Assistance was provided by the Western Massachusetts Joint Terrorism Task Force, Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, and Holyoke Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Deepika Bains Shukla of Lelling’s Springfield Branch Office is prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
National Security
Component(s): 
Updated November 6, 2019