A Texas woman was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for mailing bombs to former President Barack Obama and other elected officials.
It was a cat hair found under the address label on the box Julia Ann Poff mailed to the White House that helped to solve the case when it was traced back to her, Newsweek reports.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas, U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick along with Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner of the FBI announced Monday (Nov. 18) that the 48-year-old Brookshire resident has been ordered to prison after admitting to transportation of explosives with the intent to kill, injure and intimidate a person. Poff pleaded guilty on July 1, 2019.
In addition to the 10-year sentence, which will be immediately followed by three years of supervised release, Poff was also ordered to pay $9,700 in restitution, according to the release.
The Texas woman admitted she mailed a package “on or about Oct. 2 - 3, 2016, that contained a homemade bomb that was addressed to the former president of the United States. As part of her plea, she also acknowledged mailing two similar packages addressed to the Texas governor and then Acting Social Security Administrator,” the release states.
According to KHOU 11, Carolyn Colvin was the commissioner of the Social Security Administration at the time. Poff sent the package to her in October 2016 after being denied disability benefits for a third time, the Houston Chronicle reported at the time.
The packages Poff mailed each contained a victim-activated, booby trapped, improvised explosive device (IED) containing explosives materials, according to the press release.
On Oct. 6, 2016, a U.S. Postal Service (USPS) small, flat rate box was intercepted by authorities at a White House mail handling facility at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., and appeared to contain a bomb. An FBI explosives expert confirmed it was a homemade bomb, the release details.
Investigators tested a cat hair found under the taped address label on the outside of the box, which “was microscopically consistent with the hairs taken from a cat the Poff family cared for and owned,” the press release states.
The box, containing a micro-USB cable box, cellular phone, hobby fuse, matches, paper wadding, plastic sacks, sandpaper and two 20-ounce coke bottle caps, pyrotechnics and smokeless powder, was linked to Poff or her husband, the release describes.
In addition to the cat hair, other links that helped solve the case included Poff’s daughter identifying the phone inside the box as her old cell phone, which was last seen in her parent’s garage in August or September 2016. Additionally, authorities found that the bar code on the micro-USB cable box inside the explosive package matched the one Poff purchased with her bank debit card, according to the press release.
The release states that Poff admitted to being solely responsible for sending the packages.
The Houston Chronicle reported how Poff apologized and said, “I’m sorry to the people I’ve hurt.”