Earlier this month, a grand jury indicted a woman from a Houston suburb in federal court for sending letter bombs to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, former U.S. President Barack Obama and former Social Security Administration Commissioner Carolyn Colvin.
Julia Poff, 46, of Sealy, is currently facing six counts of indictment, ranging from welfare fraud and false bankruptcy claims, to mailing “injurious articles” and “transportation of explosives with intent to kill and injure,” according to court records.
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The indictment is reportedly the result of a year-long investigation by the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
At Poff’s detention hearing, an investigator testified, explaining how Poff mailed a package to Governor Abbott, which contained a homemade explosive device with potentially dangerous components, including smokeless powder, pyrotechnic powder used in fireworks and a small plastic cap filled with lead shot balls.
The testifying investigator further explained how security screeners intercepted the packages sent to Obama and Colvin, but Governor Abbott reportedly opened the package addressed to him without incident.
If detonated, the investigator said that the package came with a potential for “a very large flash that could induce severe burns and lots of severe injury and, possibly, death.”
The investigators found traces of cat hair on the package mailed to Obama, which they said they linked to one of Poff’s cats; they also found a shipping label on the package intended for Abbott they traced back to an eBay purchase previously made by Poff.
Investigators said they believe she sent the explosives as part of her grievance about being denied government assistance funds, theorizing Poff sent the package to Abbott after a court denied her application for child support from her ex-husband; the packages to Obama and Colvin could be related to her application for federal benefits payments.
After the indictment, Poff’s attorney entered a plea of “not guilty,” but she will remain in custody without bail until her trial in January, records show.