PALO ALTO (CBS SF) — A Massachusetts man was arrested Thursday in connection with mailing five threatening letters containing suspicious white powder to high-profile individuals around the country including Donald Trump, Jr. and a Stanford law professor, authorities said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said 24-year-old Daniel Frisiello has been charged in a criminal complaint with five counts of mailing a threat to injure the person of another and five counts of false information and hoaxes.
Frisiello was arrested in Beverly, Mass., Thursday and was scheduled to appear in federal court later in the day.
He is charged with sending the threatening envelopes with powder inside to Stanford Law School Professor Michele Dauber. The envelope also contained a note reportedly related to the Brock Turner sexual assault case and the effort to recall Judge Aaron Persky.
“I’m the victim of a crime like the other individuals. I’m relieved that there’s been an arrest,” said Dauber. “And at this point, it’s very important that the crime process go forward.”
Among the others who received the letters were Nicola T. Hanna, the Interim United States Attorney for the Central District of California; U.S. Senator Deborah Stabenow of Michigan; and Antonio Sabato Jr., who is running for a congressional seat in California.
“This investigation should remind people that law enforcement will prioritize finding and charging those who try to cause panic by sending threatening letters containing what looks like dangerous substances,” said United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Andrew E. Lelling. “Beyond terrifying the victims, these incidents caused law enforcement agencies around the country to spend time and money deploying emergency response units.”
“Thankfully, the white powder in these letters was inert and no one was harmed. This does not change the fact that the defendant allegedly used the internet, the U.S. Mail, and popular fears of biological weapons to threaten and frighten people who did not share his views, and that is something we will prosecuted accordingly.”
It was alleged that the first envelope was addressed to “DonalD trump Jr,” the son of President Trump, and was postmarked in Boston on Feb. 7, 2018. The addressee’s wife opened the envelope, which contained an unknown suspicious white powder, and the following printed message:
You are an awful, awful person, I
am surprised that your father lets
you speak on TV. You make the
family idiot, Eric, look smart. This is
the reason why people hate you,
so you are getting what you
deserve. So shut the **** UP!
The letter to the president’s son was opened by his wife, Vanessa Trump, on Feb. 12. She called 911 and reported she was coughing and felt nauseous. She was hospitalized briefly.
The substance in the letter turned out to be cornstarch.
The second envelope was addressed to Hanna and was also postmarked in Boston on Feb. 7. the envelope contained an unknown suspicious white powder, which spilled out when it was opened. The letter inside the envelope bore the following printed message:
That’s for murdering Mark Salling! I
Hope you end up the same place as Salling.
As alleged in court documents, Mark Salling, who committed suicide in January 2018, was a defendant in a child pornography case being prosecuted by Hanna’s office.
After each envelope was opened, a hazardous material response was required by law enforcement.