NorCal Man Indicted in Anthrax Scare

A federal grand jury indicted a Sacramento man Thursday on 13 charges related to a series of anthrax scares across the country that turned out to be hoaxes.

Marc Keyser, 66, was indicted on 10 counts of hoax mailings and three counts of mailing threatening communications. He remains free on $25,000 bond.

He was arrested Oct. 29 after several newspapers, including the San Diego Union-Tribune, and other media outlets, businesses and a congressman received threatening packages in the mail.

Prosecutors say they contained a computer disk labeled "Anthrax Shock and Awe Terror" and a packet of a grainy substance with a biohazard symbol and the words "Anthrax sample." In many cases, newspapers reported that the substance turned out to be sugar.

Federal prosecutors in Sacramento and Assistant Federal Defender Rachelle Barbour said Keyser hoped the mailings would increase awareness about vulnerability to anthrax attacks and bring attention to his blog and a book he published on the Web. Barbour did not immediately return a telephone message Thursday.

 Keyser has yet to enter a plea and has a scheduled court appearance Nov. 19.

Prosecutors say the harmless packages created a public danger by diverting emergency workers and investigators and by causing anxiety and disruption.

 The indictment charges Keyser with sending the Sacramento News & Review, an alternative newspaper, a similar package in 2007. Keyser was investigated at the time, but federal prosecutors declined to file charges after he promised not to do it again.

Prosecutors say he told the FBI last month that he had mailed more than 100 packages in late October.   Twelve of the charges each carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Mailing a threatening letter to Radanovich's office carries a possible 10-year prison term because he is a congressman.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us