The RCMP’s national security team in Ottawa has arrested and laid more than two dozen “terrorist hoax and uttering threats” charges against an Ontario man who they allege sent “suspicious letters” to federal and provincial government offices.
The RCMP allege that on April 29, a staff member at a government office in Ottawa opened an envelope addressed to a Government of Canada official that contained a letter that read: “You’ve Been Anthraxed.”
The hazardous materials team responded to the call and field tests and subsequent analysis determined that the envelope did not contain anthrax, which can lead to serious illness or death.
The RCMP arrested Joseph Knipfel, aged 63, of St. Catharines, Ont. on May 6 in connection with this incident, and when a search warrant was executed at his residence that day police seized electronics, documents, and copies of letters also alleging to contain antrax.
Further, the RCMP intercepted other letters of the same nature that were mailed to both domestic and foreign government officials and the investigation found “evidence of links to a string of similar letters, believed to have been authored by the accused, sent to Government of Canada officials back in 2020, claiming that those letters had been infected with the coronavirus.”
Knipfel has been charged with seven counts of “hoax-terrorist activity” and 18 counts of “uttering threats.” He is scheduled to appear in court in St. Catharines on July 8.
The investigation continues, and to date has involved Canada Post inspectors as well as several police and security forces, including the protective services for Parliament Hill and Queen’s Park.