DALLAS — A North Texas man accused of sending more than 500 hoax letters that contained a white powder to schools, government offices, day care centers and other locations in the U.S. and around the world was arrested Monday, federal authorities announced.

Hong Minh Truong, 66, made his initial appearance in Dallas federal court after he was arrested and charged in a criminal complaint with false information and hoaxes.

“While it was determined that the mailings did not contain toxins or poisons, each incident required a field screening of the letter’s contents, which cost taxpayer dollars and diverted first responder resources,” Diego Rodriguez, special agent in charge of FBI’s Dallas office, said in a statement.

A judge ordered that Truong — from the Dallas suburb of Rowlett — be held in custody until a detention hearing on Aug. 4.

Truong’s attorney did not immediately return a message Monday.

According to the criminal complaint, Truong is accused of sending more than 15 batches of letters from the Dallas area, starting in 2008. In all but two of the batches, a white-powder substance was put in the envelopes.

The hoax letters were mailed to cities across the U.S. and to U.S. Embassies abroad. Most recently, some letters were mailed to hotels in the vicinity of this year’s Super Bowl in New Jersey.

According to the criminal complaint, one batch of letters sent in May 2012 contained a statement that read in part: “Al Qaeda back! Special thing for you What the hell where are you Scooby Doo, Counter Intelligence, CIA, you do not know how to catch the triple dealer spy in your law enforcement. What the hell where are you Scooby Doo, Internal Affairs, FBI, you don’t know how to arrest the bad cop in your law enforcement.”

Investigators focused on Truong after an IP address associated with him was identified after 28 public schools in Boston received letters in June 2013, according to the complaint.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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