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Billings state representative receives fourth suspicious letter

Posted at 10:07 AM, Jun 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-27 10:30:53-04

Two more suspicious letters containing an unknown white powder were received in recent days, including one sent to Montana House Majority Leader Sue Vinton, a Republican from Billings.

Vinton received the letter Monday morning, according to an official. She did not open the letter and turned it over to the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office.

Rep. Sue Vinton (R-Billings)

On Sunday, state House Speaker Matt Regier received a similar letter addressed to the state Capitol address, officials said. It had been delivered to the Capitol several days prior and was stored unopened in the House leadership offices. Staff recognized the letter as suspicious and it was turned over to the Montana Highway Patrol.

Late last week the first two suspicious letters were received by Rep. Neil Duram, R-Eureka, and Rep. Rhonda Knudsen, R-Culbertson, at their local addresses. Both turned the letters over to law enforcement for further investigation.

Officials on Friday night worked to notify all Montana legislators of the letters and warn them not to open any suspicious mail and to immediately report any suspicious mail to law enforcement.

"These letters mailed to Speaker Pro Tempore Rhonda Knudsen and Rep. Neil Duram containing an unknown substance are a continuation of the threats and hate directed at legislators during the session," Regier said in a statement issued Saturday. "We pray and hope that the white powder is benign while we await test results. Just as we stood firm during the session, we will not be threatened or distracted now. We are in tumultuous times and House leadership will continue our objective to protect Montanans' freedom and safety no matter what cowardly threats are directed at us.” 

Similar letters were also received last week by more than 100 lawmakers and other public officials in Kansas and Tennessee.

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