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Inmate Pleads Guilty to Sending Threats, Powder to D.A. & Judge

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) – A Springfield man, already in jail, has pleaded guilty to after he sent threats to various offices.

Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office says that back in September 2011, 38-year-old Derick Maldonado sent two letters containing white powder and threats to the Hampden County District Attorney’s office and a superior court judge.

The letter to the judge was intercepted by officials before it could be opened, but the letter to the D.A.’s office was opened and required a HAZMAT team to respond to investigate.

Investigators determined that the powder was palmitic acid, a common ingredient in soap and that these letters were sent by Maldonado while in he was in jail on unrelated charges.

Maldonado pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of possession or control of a hoax device or material, and one count of use of threat of a dangerous chemical or biological agent to cause evacuation or serious disruption of a building.

“The actions of this defendant posed a serious security risk and instilled fear into public workers and others,. He is being held accountable for threatening people’s safety and for causing a costly security response. All people deserve to feel safe in the workplace and this defendant’s actions disrupted that basic entitlement,” Coakley says in a statement.

Hampden County District Attorney Mark Mastroianni adds, “This was an extreme disruption in the functioning of our office and our ability to deliver services to victims of crime. A significant portion of our office was shut down on a busy day with staff members being very fearful of the situation. This very serious offense resulted in an appropriate sentence for the person who caused this problem. 

As part of the plea, Maldonado was sentenced to four to five years in state prison and was ordered to pay $5,951 in restitution for the HAZMAT response and the lab work involved.


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