BOSTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Massachusetts man has been arrested for allegedly sending a letter with a powder in it to Donald Trump Jr.
Daniel Frisiello, of Beverly, Mass., was picked up Thursday morning and later charged with mailing a threat to injure another person and false information/hoaxes. He was being held pending a detention hearing scheduled for Monday.
Frisiello, 24, worked at Catholic Charities of Boston’s Peabody child care center. Catholic Charities is an arm of the Archdiocese of Boston. A spokeswoman told The Associated Press that Frisiello was placed on leave immediately after the FBI informed the organization of his arrest. It wasn’t immediately known how long he worked there.
The FBI assured the charity that “the charges do not involve any activity in his role at Catholic Charities.”
The organization said it performed a background check on Frisiello when he was hired and was cooperating fully in the FBI investigation.
According to the complaint, Frisiello was behind at least five powder letter scares. He is also accused of sending similar letters to a U.S. Attorney in California, a Stanford University law school professor, Sen. Deborah Stabenow of Michigan, and actor Anthony Sabato Jr., who is running for Congress.
All of the letters had Boston postmarks, according to the complaint.
“Beyond terrifying the victims, these incidents caused law enforcement agencies around the country to spend time and money deploying emergency response units,” Massachusetts District Attorney Andrew Lelling said. “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 prosecute accordingly.”
Authorities said the letter sent to Trump Jr. earlier this month included disparaging remarks:
“You are an awful, awful person, I am surprised 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 deserve. So shut the F— UP!”
Back on Feb. 12, Vanessa Trump — Donald Trump Jr.’s wife — was taken to the hospital after opening a letter containing a suspicious substance.
The letter was addressed to Trump Jr. and was sent to a Sutton Place home owned by him but occupied by his mother-in-law. Vanessa called 911 after opening the envelope. Two other people were also taken to the hospital for evaluation.
The substance in the envelope turned out to be corn starch.
“This investigation by the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force sends a strong message to those who seek to terrorize the public by sending powder letters through the mail. Whether real or a hoax, don’t do it,” FBI Boston Special Agent in Charge Harold Shaw said. “There are plenty of appropriate, lawful ways, to express your opinion and voice your displeasure, but inducing panic and sending what is believed to be a weapon of mass destruction through the mail is certainly not one of them.”
“Thankful that Vanessa & my children are safe and unharmed after the incredibly scary situation that occurred this morning,” Trump Jr. wrote on Twitter at the time of the incident. “Truly disgusting that certain individuals choose to express their opposing views with such disturbing behavior.”
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)