Police say they have identified and arrested the man responsible for sending an envelope filled with a mysterious powder to Donald Trump Jr. and scaring his wife, Vanessa, who opened it.
In a release, officials say Daniel Frisiello, a 24-year-old Beverly man, was arrested Thursday and charged with charges related to mailing threats and carrying out hoaxes. Officials allege he also sent envelopes with powder inside them to at least four other political figures and celebrities. He is due to appear in U.S. District Court in Worcester today.
The letter caused a panic in February after Vanessa Trump Jr. received it in New York, opened it and was rushed to the hospital after she reported feeling ill. Authorities had been concerned the powder might have been some sort of biological attack, but determined the substance was not toxic.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Frisiello’s letter to Donald Trump Jr., postmarked February 7, also included a hostile 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!
Frisiello, officials say, also sent powder along with angry messages to at least four other public figures.
His alleged victims include Democratic U.S. Sen. Deborah Stabenow, of Michigan; actor and Trump-supporting Congressional candidate Antonio Sabato Jr., of California; and Nicola T. Hanna, the interim U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California. The letter sent to Hanna blamed him for the death of Mark Salling, a TV star who committed suicide while jailed for possession of child pornography. “That’s for murdering Mark Salling!” the message said, according to the release. “I Hope you end up the same place as Salling.”
Another letter allegedly targeted Stanford professor Michele Dauber, who has led a campaign to recall California Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky over the six-month jail sentence he gave a young man, Brock Turner, who was convicted of sexual assault. Investigators also say they linked Frisiello to a threatening message and so-called “glitter bomb”—an envelope filled with glitter—Dauber received in February, about a week before the envelope with the powder. “Since you are going to disrobe [Judge Aaron] Persky, I am going to treat you like ‘Emily Doe,’” the message reads, apparently referencing the name given to the woman Turner assaulted. “Let’s see what kind of sentencing I get for being a rich white male.”
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, officials identified Frisiello by analyzing the online transaction for the “glitter bomb,” and searching through the suspect’s trash.
The investigation involved FBI Boston Division’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Secret Service, and the Beverly Police Department.
“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 Andrew Lelling, U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, in a statement. “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.”
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