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Suspicious letter at ADOC HQ ruled harmless after building evacuated

A powder inside the letter was later determined to be cellulose powder, a harmless food additive.

The Alabama Department of Corrections building in Montgomery.
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The Alabama Department of Corrections has confirmed that a letter containing a powdery substance was delivered to the department’s headquarters in Montgomery on Tuesday, with officials at the scene later determining the substance was, in fact, harmless.

In a statement released on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the ADOC confirmed that after the letter and suspicious contents were discovered at the department’s headquarters, located at the Criminal Justice Center on Ripley Street in Montgomery, and that the building was evacuated in accordance with “protocol for suspicious mail.”

At noon, Law Enforcement Services Division Director Arnaldo Mercado was handling the situation, with later responding agencies including elements of local, state, and federal law enforcement and first responders, according to the spokesperson.

The National Guard Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear unit was “instrumental in identifying the powder,” the spokesperson said, which was later determined to be cellulose powder: a refined plant-based pulp used as a food additive and often found in pre-grated faux parmesan cheese.

By 2:30 p.m., the building was reopened after it was determined that the substance was harmless. The spokesperson confirmed that “cooperative state and federal investigations” are ongoing in this case.

John is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can contact him at [email protected] or via Twitter.

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