Federal and state investigators puzzled over a motive and questioned Nevada prison inmates after at least 15 governors were sent envelopes that, when opened, caused a match to flare. The Associated Press reported that “a person of interest” was being scrutinized. Special Agent Todd Palmer in Las Vegas told the Nevada Appeal that the FBI was working with the U.S. Postal Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to investigate. None of the envelopes contained written message. All bore a return address from Nevada’s maximum-security Ely State Prison.
Some letters were intercepted by state officials after warnings were issued about the suspicious mailings. They will be turned over unopened to federal investigators for lab analysis, Palmer said. Most letters went to Western governors. Eleven were sent to Republicans and four were mailed to Democrats. The rigged envelopes were sent to the governors of Montana, Idaho, Nebraska, Washington, Utah, Texas, Oregon, New York, Colorado, Massachusetts, Wyoming, Hawaii, Arizona, Vermont and Nevada. Another such letter went to the Nevada corrections director.