DNA, name on envelope lead police to white powder suspect

DNA, name on envelope lead police to white powder suspect
Andrew Barnett.

PORTLAND, Ore. – The FBI has confirmed it is investigating a Multnomah County inmate as the person behind at least one of the recent anthrax scares.

Six places across Portland were the target of suspicious envelopes with white powder inside.

According to court documents, federal authorities believe Andrew Laud Barnett sent one of the letters to the federal courthouse in downtown Portland from his jail cell about a month ago. They say the letter to the prosecutor on his case, Stephen Peifer, wanted him to snort the purported anthrax powder, concluding with a statement, “I want you gone.”

Investigators say Barnett wrote his name on the envelope as its return address.

Investigators say Barnett previously sent two other threatening letters to Peifer.
Police obtained a search warrant to inspect his jail cell and took two DNA mouth swabs from him. They found that Barnett's DNA matched DNA found on the envelope flaps sent to Peifer.

The federal courthouse incident was the first of six white powder incidents in the span of three weeks.

Investigators confirmed what KATU News first reported last week that the letters came from inside the Multnomah County Jail.

Barnett already faces charges for sending other threatening letters to the Washington County sheriff and deputies and for assaulting a corrections officer with feces and urine.

A judge has banned Barnett from mailing letters to anyone, or having any access to any writing instruments. He also prohibited Barnett from having any medications like ibuprofen, TUMS or any substance that can be turned into powder.

He has since been transferred from the Multnomah County Jail to the federal prison in Sheridan.

According to multiple sources, none of the outgoing mail at the Multnomah County Jail is inspected before it goes out.

The Envelope: