Federal Bureau of Investigation Newark Field Office 11 Centre Place Newark, NJ 07102

Acting Special Agent in Charge Kevin Cruise
Public Affairs Officer SA Bryan Travers 973-792-3020, newark.media@ic.fbi.gov

For Immediate Release: February 19, 2010

FEDS ARREST NEWSPAPER DELIVERY MAN FOR SENDING HOAX POWDER LETTER TO HIS BOSS Newark, NJ –
Acting Special Agent In Charge Kevin Cruise announced today the arrest of Paul Meyer, age 53, of 922 Craigville Road, Chester, New York in connection with a hoax biological agent mailed to Meyer’s supervisor at The Star Ledger newspaper in Newark, New Jersey. FBI agents from Newark and New York’s Hudson Valley Resident Agency, U.S. Postal Inspectors, members of the Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) in both New Jersey and New York, and troopers from the New York State Police conducted the arrest this morning at Meyer’s residence without incident. Meyer was transported to Newark where he will face a federal charge of conduct intending to convey false or misleading information involving the illegal transfer of a biological agent or toxin (a hoax “powder letter.”) Note: This case is completely unrelated to a series of white powder letters throughout New Jersey that has been widely reported in the media. According to the criminal complaint, Meyer was employed as a driver for The Star Ledger. Earlier this month, Meyer’s supervisor mailed Meyer a pre-printed, selfaddressed stamped envelope along with a letter requesting that Meyer turn in his work log. The return envelope was addressed to the attention of the supervisor at the Star Ledger in Newark. This past Tuesday, February 16th, the circulation director (to whom Meyer’s supervisor reports) received a voice mail message on his office phone. The message was placed by an individual calling from a telephone number with a Hudson Valley area code and exchange in New York. The message was allegedly left by someone who identified himself as Meyer and claimed responsibility for “a minor retaliation” against the individual who is Meyer’s supervisor. The following day, Meyer’s supervisor received a self-addressed, stamped envelope to his attention at the Star Ledger in Newark and postmarked “Mid Hudson, NY” on February 9, 2010. Inside the envelope was what appeared to be the same letter the supervisor had mailed Meyer requesting Meyer’s work log (as indicated by the top of the letter which stated “To: Paul

Meyer” “From: [the supervisor]”), along with a quantity of an unknown yellow powder. The supervisor, concerned the powder was toxic, contact law enforcement who conducted a field test. That test determined that the powder was actually protein powder. Later that day, Meyer allegedly called the circulation director to express his frustration with Meyer’s supervisor and claimed responsibility for sending the supervisor a letter containing protein powder. “However harmless someone’s intentions may actually be, mailing hoax letters and devices such as those in this case cause significant damage to the community and amount to a very selfish act,” said Cruise. “The people who receive these letters fear for their safety, the safety of their families, and their coworkers. Valuable emergency resources are wasted. The public is cast into a panic –and all because of one individual’s inability to cope effectively with his or her own personal issues. The bottom line is that in terms of the law, it makes no difference if the threat is genuine or a hoax: the penalty when the perpetrator is caught will most definitely be genuine.” Cruise thanks the JTTF’s in New York and New Jersey, the U.S Postal Inspection Service, and the New York State Troopers, and the Hudson Valley Resident Agency of the FBI for their contributions in this matter. Cruise is especially appreciative of the cooperation and precautions taken by The Star Ledger. “This arrest should serve as a warning to those who intend to misuse the U.S. Mails for this type of criminal activity,” said David Collins, Inspector in Charge of the Newark Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. “The Postal Inspectors, Special Agents of the FBI, state, and local investigators involved in the investigation deserve praise for the effort and dedication it took to bring this case to a quick resolution. Though the powder contained in the mailings is not harmful, the threatening mailings not only constitute a federal crime, but cause alarm to victims and victim institutions,” said Collins. “Postal Inspectors will continue to ensure the safety of the vital U.S. Mail network through aggressive investigation of anyone who mails these types of threats –real or hoax.” Meyer is scheduled for an initial appearance this afternoon at 2:15 pm before Honorable Patty Shwartz, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the District of New Jersey. If convicted, Meyer faces a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment, fines, or both. A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Despite this accusation, every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lisa Colon in Newark for the District of New Jersey. -end-