A suspicious white powder mailed to U.S. Rep. Allen West turned out to be a hoax, ending a three-hour scare on Friday that drew a swarm of local and federal investigators to his campaign office in Boca Raton.
Hazardous materials handlers in blue suits tested the powder around 4:30 p.m. in the parking lot outside his office at 2108 N. Federal Highway. No biohazardous substances were detected, according to Boca Raton Fire-Rescue spokesman Frank Correggio.
"It was not anthrax," he said. The tests did not reveal what it was.
A letter mailed with the white powder had mentioned the word "anthrax" and included derogatory comments toward West, according to a statement from Chief of Staff Jonathan Blythe.
A campaign worker picked up the letter at a post office box in Deerfield Beach and opened it at West's campaign office in Boca Raton, according to Blythe.
The discovery triggered a local and federal investigation, putting West's offices in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale on high alert.
Boca Raton police cars, Fire-Rescue engines and a Health Department truck surrounded his campaign office around 2 p.m.
West's office was roped off, while other shops in the Fifth Avenue Shops plaza remained open.
Health workers were on the scene to take the powder to a Miami lab if further tests were needed. Authorities are still investigating the case to see who may have sent the threatening letter.
West, who ousted Ron Klein in November from the U.S. House District 22 seat, said in the statement that he is "deeply disturbed" by the incident.
"I thoroughly condemn this act which does nothing but evidence the sick and deranged nature of the perpetrator," West said in a statement released Friday afternoon. "I will continue to serve the constituents of Florida's Congressional District 22 with honor and integrity."
Via the Palm Beach Post is this report: