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A 66-year-old Texas man was being held Monday on charges that he sent hundreds of hoax threat letters over the last six years — including several letters with white powder that sent law enforcement officials scrambling after they were delivered to New York-area businesses just two days before the Super Bowl last February.

The man, identified as Hong Minh Truong of Rowlett, Texas, was arrested Monday morning, the Justice Department said. A federal magistrate ordered him held on charges of false information and hoaxes. According to the complaint (PDF), Truong sent more than 500 letters from North Texas to schools and government facilities across the U.S. and to U.S. embassies overseas beginning in December 2008. All of the letters, some of which warned of al-Qaeda attacks, turned out to be harmless, but they sparked numerous alerts and sent investigators on wild-goose chases for an alleged "bad cop" who appeared to claim responsibility.

Truong could face five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if he's convicted.



— M. Alex Johnson and Pete Williams