Suzanne E. Muscara, 37, is accused of sending a letter to Sen. Susan Collins in October that claimed to contain anthrax. The letter was intercepted by postal officials before it made it to Collins’ home.
The discovery of that missive came after a letter to Collins’ husband Thomas Daffron was received at their Bangor home. Federal prosecutors have not charged Muscara in connection with the first letter.
Muscara, a Burlington, Maine resident, was arrested last Friday and appeared in court Monday. She was held without bail.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Claimed Ricin-Laced Letter Was Addressed to Collins’ Husband Last Fall & Had Postal Officials on the Lookout For Others
In October of 2018, Collins’ husband Daffron received a “suspicious” letter that was alleged to contain ricin addressed to him at his and his wife’s Bangor home.
Police, fire and other emergency personnel and haz-mat crews shut down the area around the Collins home.
At the time, local police confirmed to Heavy that Daffron was inside the house and it had “no information that suggests the public is in any danger.”
The letter was alleged to have contained “ricin residue.”
Daffron was home alone with the couple’s dog. Collins, who was in Washington D.C., returned to Maine and they and their dog were quarantined inside the home for a period of time.
“The typed and unsigned letter said, ‘Good Luck to you and Susan in the next life’ and stated ‘Your wife has betrayed the people of Maine along with the American people and this will be her downfall,’” according to the criminal complaint. Muscara is not charged with in connection with that letter.
It was then that the USPS stared looking at correspondence addressed to Daffron and Collins and found the latter that Musacra is alleged to have sent. The letter stated it contained anthrax.
2. A Threatening Stick-Figure Drawing Had the Caption ‘AnthRAX!!! HA HA HA!!!’ & a White Powder, Which Turned Out to be Starch
According to the criminal complaint, “inside the letter was a double-sided Aetna Medicare Solutions colored flyer. On one side of the flyer there is blue handwriting. The handwriting reads ‘AnthRAX!!! HA HA HA!!!’ A stick-figure face has been drawn with the letter ‘X’ for eyes, the tongue sticking out, and with ‘You’ and an arrow pointing at the stick figure face.”
Investigators were able to determine that the white powder substance was starch. Cornstarch is sometimes used in place of talc in body powders.
3. Muscara Left a Partial Fingerprint on the Envelope. She Told the FBI the Anthrax Letter Was a Joke
According the an affidavit, the FBI found a partial print on the envelope which was matched to Muscara. She was arrested in 2013 in Pennsylvania, the court documents read. Heavy is trying to locate information on that arrest.
According to the criminal complain filed in federal court, FBI special agents Mike Verhar and Alex White tracked Muscara to her home in Maine. She waived her right to keep silent and told the agents that she sent the letter. She said the substance was not poison. She said she recalled using the word anthrax. And, she told agents she thought it would be intercepted by law enforcement and it would not be taken seriously.
She was wrong.
4. Muscara Was Arrested & Held Without Bail. She Faces 10 Years in Federal Prison if Convicted
Muscara was arrested Friday and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Nivison Monday. The judge ordered she be held without bail until an April 16 preliminary hearing. At that hearing the judge must decide if enough probable cause was presented to warrant her arrest and if yes, then he must decide if she can get bail.
According to the synopsis filed in court, Muscara faces up to 10 years in prison, and up a fine of up to $150,000. She is being held in the Penobscot (Maine) County Jail.
The Bangor Daily News reported that Muscara is a member of the Green Party. The paper also reported Muscara appeared in court wearing “blue jail garb, her hair cropped close to her head …she dabbed at her eyes with a tissue while waiting for the brief proceeding to begin.”
5. The Letters Coincided With Collins’ Support of Then-Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh
Collins’ home had been the scene of protests prior to the vote to confirm now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Collins had come under fire for her vote to move the nomination of Kavanaugh forward after an allegation made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that Kavanaugh tried to rape her when the two were in high school. Other accusers alleged he committed sexual misconduct while in high school and college. Despite widespread protest, Kavanaugh was confirmed in a 51 to 49 on Saturday Oct. 6 with Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, voting to move the vote forward and GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski voting no.
Collins said she cast a yes vote because she believed some accusations were “outlandish” and she said during a speech that “Some of the allegations levied against Judge Kavanaugh illustrate why the presumption of innocence is so important.” She in particular was outraged she said by the “outlandish allegation (that) was put forth without any credible supporting evidence and simply parroted public statements of others. That such an allegation can find its way into the Supreme Court confirmation process is a stark reminder about why the presumption of innocence is so ingrained in our American consciousness.”
She was referring to Julie Swetnick who alleged Kavanugh and his friend conservative columnist Mark Judge facilitated gang rapes by drugging girls at large parties held in the 1980s hosted by students attending private Washington D.C.-area schools.