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Officials: Letter with unknown substance addressed to Arizona Senate President, DPS investigating

Arizona Senate Karen Fann.jpg
Posted at 11:42 AM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-20 14:50:14-04

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Public Safety has confirmed that it is investigating after a suspicious package was found Wednesday afternoon at the Arizona Senate building in downtown Phoenix.

DPS Public Information Officer Bart Graves said in an email that DPS received a call on Wednesday regarding a suspicious package. The DPS Hazardous Materials Response Unit secured the unknown package and sent it to the DPS Crime Lab.

Graves did not release any details about what the package was, where it was found, nor what substance may have been found inside the package.

Mike Philipsen, director of communications for the Arizona State Senate, said in an email Thursday that on Wednesday afternoon "an assistant in President Fann's office opened a letter addressed to the President. A small amount of substance was observed from the mailing."

"Out of an abundance of caution, the assistant contacted the Department of Public Safety, and its Hazmat team was alerted."

Philipsen said tests were performed at the Senate building and came back negative. He did not identify what the substance was.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Warren Petersen said in a tweet late Wednesday that the package contained an “unidentified white powder” and that it was sent to the office of Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, who is leading the audit of Maricopa County’s 2020 election.

“The personal attacks on @FannKfann by some media and others is truly disturbing. If you don't agree with the policy, disagree with it but no need to attack her personally. Now this. Today someone sent an unidentified white powder to her office. Not OK folks. DPS is investigating,” read Petersen's tweet.

Disagreement around the Senate’s and Cyber Ninja’s audit of more than 2 million ballots cast in Maricopa County during the 2020 election intensified further this week after Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, a Republican who was elected during the 2020 election, and other county officials, raised concerns about the audit team's security, inspections, and alleged claims.