Suspicious Package Clears Spokane County Court

     SPOKANE, Wash. (CN) — The Spokane County Courthouse was evacuated Thursday following concerns about suspicious packages mailed to Superior Court Judge Annette Plese and Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Tom Treppiedi.
     According to reports, a package sent via U.S. Mail and addressed to Plese’s staff was opened by a bailiff who was sickened by an unidentified substance in the package. Several law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, responded to the incident and evacuated the Spokane County Courthouse building around 10:30am on Thursday.
     Several people exited the building complaining of shortness of breath and a “scratchy” feeling in their throat, according to the Spokane Fire Department. FBI Media Affairs staffer Ayn Dietrich said the FBI has sent samples of the substance in the package to the lab for testing and is still awaiting results.
     Deputy Prosecutor Treppedi told local media on Thursday that he recognized the sender’s name on the package as a defendant in a current drive-by shooting and assault case. A man who calls himself “Sovereign Nation” is representing himself in the case.
     While the irritant in the package has yet to be identified, it was determined not to be toxic and courthouse staff and the public were allowed to re-enter the building just before noon on Thursday.

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