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FBI investigating suspicious substance sent to Utah Tribal Court

By Geoff Liesik | Posted - Dec 5th, 2012 @ 11:59pm

FORT DUCHESNE, Uintah County — The FBI is investigating a suspicious incident at the office of the Ute Tribal Court that resulted in a hazardous materials team being called to a police officer's home.

Court employees received a document Wednesday and reported having an "adverse reaction" after coming in contact with it, said Jensen Fire Chief Todd Wallis, the incident commander for the hazmat team.

The employees contacted a Bureau of Indian Affairs police officer, who placed the document in a sealed plastic bag while investigating the incident, Wallis said. The officer placed the bag in her patrol car, which she then drove to her Uintah County home at the end of her shift.

That's where the hazmat team was dispatched about 9 p.m. Wednesday.

"(The FBI) called and asked us to come out and provide some field sampling on the document that was received that they think might have been involved in causing the adverse reaction," Wallis said.

Preliminary testing showed there were no harmful substances on the document, he said.

"We've gone through our field sampling and everything's come up negative," Wallis said. "Our science guys said we're good to go, so we've released that (document) back to the FBI at this point."

Wallis did not know whether the document was a letter or a court filing, saying only that it was something "received in the normal handling process at the courts."

The FBI is expected to run additional tests, he said.

"I'm sure they'll process it through their lab, which is obviously much more conclusive than what we've done here," Wallis said.

FBI spokeswoman Debbie Bertram confirmed that the bureau is investigating the incident and that two people were taken to a local hospital as a precaution.

Geoff Liesik

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