The FBI is partnering with local, state, and federal agencies in Kansas to find out who sent more than 100 letters containing white powder to Kansas officials, including Attorney General Kris Kobach, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.
On June 16, Kansas state legislators were first warned about the suspicious letters by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI).
On Tuesday, the FBI said testing on the powder contained in the envelopes shows that there is no risk to public safety, confirming the KBI’s preliminary tests. However, the FBI said further tests will be conducted to identify the powder.
More than 60 special agents, forensics specialists, and other investigators, along with 12 bomb squads and 17 hazmat teams, responded throughout the state. In total, more than 100 letters were seized by investigators.
The letters, which were sent to state legislators and Attorney General Kris Kobach, included the return address of a local church with different names for the sender.
On Tuesday, the KBI announced that the FBI would take the lead now that the scope of the investigation extends beyond the state.
While the motive for the letters remains unclear, it is believed that the letters could be from activists opposed to so-called “anti-trans” legislation.
The alleged “sender” of the letter sent to State Rep. Fred Patton was listed as Jahaira Balenciaga, a transgender who was murdered in Massachusetts in 2021.
According to some of the recipients, the letters were signed “your secret despiser.”
Kansas Republican legislative leaders vowed that state legislators would “not be intimidated by extremists” who seek to “undermine the will of the people” elected to serve the state.
The leaders of the Young Democrats, the Progressive Caucus, and the LGBTQ Caucus condemned the letters last week, saying they were committed to resolving issues through “civil and democratic actions.”