This morning, the Phoenix offices of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio were evacuated when authorities discovered a white powdery substance in an envelope, as well as a note claiming the powder was Anthrax.
Turns out, the envelope was brought to the MCSO's offices by Arpaio -- and it was intended for the president of the United States.
The sheriff wasn't trying to poison his entire staff, though, or the president (so he says) -- he received the envelope at his Fountain Hills home over the weekend and brought it to his office to have detectives open it for him.
"I don't open letters anymore," Arpaio told us this afternoon, alluding to the numerous publicity stunts...er, death threats he's received over the years.
Here's what Arpaio says went down: on Saturday, he received at his home a letter addressed to the White House -- specifically President Barack Obama, with whom Arpaio doesn't have the greatest relationship (Arpaio claims Obama's behind the Department of Justice's political "witch hunt" into the MCSO's alleged racial-profiling practices. Simultaneously, Arpaio's still "investigating" whether Obama's a U.S. citizen eligible to be president).
The return address on the letter was Arpaio's home.
Suspicious, the sheriff brought the letter with him to his office this morning to have his
glorified food-tasters deputies open it to see what was inside.
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According to Arpaio, the letter in the envelope claimed that the powder was Anthrax, and it was signed "Sheriff Joe Arpaio."
The sheriff insists he did not try to mail an envelope full of Anthrax to the president. He also says the powder probably isn't even Anthrax.
Arpaio says investigators from the Phoenix Fire Department are testing the substance to see if it posed any threat to people exposed to it.
The identity of the person who actually mailed the letter is unknown.