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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Ohio

Friday, May 3, 2019

Grand Jury Indicts Inmate for Mailing Threats to Former Ohio Attorney General & Prisons Director, Judges, Newspapers

COLUMBUS, Ohio – An Ohio inmate has been charged federally for writing at least 15 threatening letters containing powder. In some of the letters, he allegedly claimed the powder was anthrax or fentanyl or threatened the use of explosive devices.


Sean Heisa, 35, was indicted by a grand jury yesterday on two counts of making false information or hoaxes and 13 counts of mailing threatening communications.


Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Todd A. Wickerham, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, announced the charges.


According to the indictment, from July 2017 to July 2018, Heisa mailed threatening letters to various officials throughout the state of Ohio.


Heisa mailed a letter to the city manager of Painesville, Ohio and claimed powder contained within the envelope was anthrax. Likewise, Heisa mailed a second letter that month to a magistrate judge in Whitehall, Ohio, again claiming the powder contained within the letter was anthrax.


Heisa also allegedly threatened via letter officials within the Coshocton Municipal Courthouse, Franklin County Common Pleas Court and then Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine through threatened exposure to anthrax and the use of explosive devices.


Other letters threatened to injure recipients – including the former Ohio prisons director, the Columbus Dispatch, the Circleville Herald and The Ohio State University – by exposure to fentanyl.


Heisa was charged by criminal complaint in December 2018 and arrested in January 2019.


Creating false information/hoaxes and mailing threatening communications are each federal crimes punishable by up to five years in prison


U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the FBI, and Assistant United States Attorney Jessica W. Knight, who is prosecuting the case.


An indictment merely contains allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

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Updated May 10, 2019