White powder delivered to lawmaker found to be non-hazardous - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

White powder delivered to lawmaker found to be non-hazardous

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ An unknown white powder found in an envelope delivered to a state lawmaker Friday tested negative for biological hazards, including anthrax, authorities said.

Investigators in yellow hazardous material suits and breathing masks removed the material after it was discovered in an envelope opened about 2:45 p.m in the state Capitol office of Rep. Darrell Gilbert, D-Tulsa.

The envelope was in a parcel that contained papers and other objects, said Kevin Ward, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. Ward declined comment on the content of the papers and how the parcel was delivered and said it was part of an Oklahoma Highway Patrol investigation.

``We have some leads that we are looking at,'' Ward said.

A similar parcel addressed to a second lawmaker, Rep. Fred Morgan, R-Oklahoma City, was delivered to House Speaker Todd Hiett, R-Kellyville, and later forwarded to Morgan. An envelope inside was not opened and testing indicated it contained no suspicious material, Ward said.

Authorities were still trying to identify the substance found in the first envelope late Friday. Gilbert and his secretary, who were confined to Gilbert's office for several hours, showed no ill effects, Ward said.

Ward declined to discuss a possible motive for the mailing.

``We're going to look into it. We'd like to find out who sent this letter,'' Ward said.

Hiett said the incident is the first of its kind at the Capitol since the still-unsolved mailings of anthrax-tainted letters in October 2001 that killed five people and sickened 17 others.

``I would be outraged if we do find out that there was criminal intent against any member,'' the House speaker said.

More than a dozen troopers and members of the Oklahoma City Fire Department poured into the Capitol after the powder was reported.

Authorities took samples and sealed off the corridor outside Gilbert's fifth-floor office. They also turned off ventilation around the office and other areas of the Capitol to prevent possible contamination, officials said.

The House, which remained in session, voted to permit Gilbert to vote on legislation by telephone from his office.
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