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Texas man held in powder letter hoax

Boston threats among hundreds

A Texas man who has claimed to hear voices in his head was allegedly the author of hundreds of letters that contained bizarre threats and white powders, a combination that triggered anxiety and hazardous materials team responses across the country, including in Boston in 2013.

Hong Minh Truong, 66, appeared in US District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Dallas on Monday where he is facing a criminal complaint for hoaxing the public and conveying false information, federal officials said in a statement.

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A key piece of forensic information in the case came from the Boston public schools’ computer network following the receipt of 28 letters that contained white powder and made references to the terror group Al Qaeda and anthrax, officials said.

The letters led to a hazardous materials response across the city, generated anxiety among parents and staff members, and led police to increase patrols near the city’s schools. In the aftermath, school officials discovered that someone with a Time Warner Cable subscription in Rowlett, Texas, visited the School Department website in June 2013 before the letters were sent.

The information that was sent to federal investigators and officials matched up with the cable subscriber at Truong’s home in Rowlett, officials said in a statement.

“We offered our assistance to investigators throughout the process and we are pleased with today’s news that an arrest has been made,’’ Brian Ballou, a spokesman for the Boston School Department said in a statement.

According to federal officials in Texas, since December 2008, Truong allegedly mailed out more than 500 letters that contained bizarrely written threats and a white powder the writer said was anthrax.

Federal officials included a partial quote from the letters sent to Boston.

It read in part, “we are terrorist victim from Al-Queada FBI, Communist FBI and Nazi FBI in Texas. We let you all know to aware. They have been forcing and controlling us to do something to harm the America.”

Truong told Dallas police in 2002 that he heard voices in his head telling him “to do things he does not want to do” and that federal law enforcement agencies and police “are after him and beaming radar into his body.’’

John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.
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