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Press Release

Cicero Man Charged With Mailing Fake Anthrax/ricin Letters

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK - This morning, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Syracuse Office, and the United States Postal Inspection Service, arrested BRIAN DANIEL NORTON, age 59, of Cicero, New York, on federal felony charges of mailing threatening communications and transmitting false information and hoaxes in violation of 18 U.S.C. §876(c) and 1038(a), respectively, according to United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian.

The charges relate to conduct by Norton in mailing 21 threatening letters containing white powder, alleged to be either anthrax or ricin to various addresses in the Syracuse, New York area and elsewhere beginning in about 1997 and continuing through 2012. Those receiving the letters included LeMoyne College and Bishop Ludden High School in Syracuse, as well as U.S. Senator John McCain, then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and former Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle. Later analysis of the powder contained in the letters proved that it was harmless.

Norton made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Syracuse before the Hon. David E. Peebles today. If convicted, Norton faces a maximum possible sentence of ten years incarceration. He is being detained pending a detention hearing scheduled for Monday, June 16th at 11am.

The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Syracuse Resident Office and the United States Postal Inspection Service, Syracuse Office, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephen C. Green.

For additional information, contact Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney John G. Duncan at 315-448-0672.

The charges in the Complaint are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated January 29, 2015