Canadian officials announced they have arrested and charged a St. Catharines, Ontario man with terrorist hoax and uttering threats offences, after suspicious letters were received by federal and provincial government offices.
63-year-old Joseph Knipfel was charged with: 1) Hoax – terrorist activity, contrary to the Criminal Code, 7 Counts and 2) Uttering threats, contrary to the Criminal Code, 18 Counts.
In April 29, 2021, a staff member at a government office in Ottawa opened an envelope addressed to a Government of Canada official that contained a letter with the inscription “You’ve Been Anthraxed”. Anthrax is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis. A chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives (CBRNE) team was deployed as part of the police response. Based on initial field tests and further analysis of the contents of the envelope, it was determined that it did not contain a hazardous substance.
On May 6, 2021, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) arrested Joseph Knipfel in connection with this incident. A search warrant was executed at Mr. Knipfel’s residence on the same day and various items were seized including electronic devices, documents as well as copies of letters alleging to have contained anthrax.
The RCMP was able to intercept other letters of the same type mailed to both domestic and foreign government officials. Furthermore, the investigation uncovered evidence of links to a string of similar letters, believed to have been authored by the accused, sent to Government of Canada officials back in 2020, claiming that those letters had been infected with the coronavirus.
Mr. Knipfel is scheduled to appear at the St. Catharines Courthouse located at 59 Church Street in Street, St. Catharines, Ontario on July 8, 2021. The investigation is ongoing.
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