A man from rural Pine County, Minnesota is accused of sending envelopes with white powder to county officials, and investigators believe it all may have been an attempt to frame an ex-wife for the crime.
Federal agents raided a secluded home near Braham, Minn. on Thursday afternoon, arresting 45-year-old Johnnie Earl Long and seizing evidence that could be connected to making explosive devices and biological agents.
Investigators believe Long sent the six envelopes containing a white powder to the Pine County Government Center last month. The letters were addressed to the sheriff, a couple of his deputies, the county attorney and two judges.
The white powder contained two similar kinds of bacteria: bacillus thuringiensis or bacillus cereus. Both are found in soil and plants, and its refined form is used as an insecticide.
Fox 9 News has learned what concerns investigators, including the FBI, is the bacteria was absolutely pure, without contamination, and the same process could be used to make deadly biological weapons like anthrax.
Investigators believe Johnnie Long was trying to blame others for sending those white powder envelopes. He did this in part by sending out anonymous emails, including emails he may have been sending to me.
In fact, Maplewood police have arrested Johnnie Long twice in the last couple of years for violating restraining orders filed by his ex-wife, and he is scheduled to go on trial next month in Ramsey County for domestic abuse.
Perhaps the only kernel of truth in the emails he may have sent is how Long describes himself -- that he has a problem with anger issues, and is a liar.
Prosecutors were ready to charge Johnnie Long with felony terroristic threats on Friday, but they had trouble finding an impartial judge since the white powder letters were sent to the two judges on the bench.
Prosecutors were granted a filing extension, and a circuit judge will be brought in for Long's initial appearance on Monday.