LawFuel.com US Attorney News –
DENVER – Jay DeVaughn, age 41, of Denver, Colorado, was charged by Criminal Complaint for mailing a threatening letter to a victim on February 15, 2008. That victim’s name and address was allegedly used by DeVaughn as a return address in threatening letters later mailed to certain Colorado elected officials. DeVaughn was arrested by agents with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force agents and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service late Friday night, February 26, 2010. He made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Denver today, where he was advised of the charges pending against him. He is scheduled to have a detention hearing on March 3, 2010, and a preliminary hearing on March 10, 2010. He is currently in custody.
According to the affidavit in support of the Criminal Complaint, during the course of an investigation into threatening letters, some containing white powder, agents and officers found that a victim and his wife received harassing and threatening letters in February of 2008. The threatening letter in question as to which the Complaint charges states “[Victim’s wife] RIP”. Further investigation revealed that one of the two other letters received by the victim contained DNA believed to be from DeVaughn. The JTTF obtained the defendant’s DNA during the execution of a search warrant at his place of employment. Investigators then interviewed a witness, who stated that the handwriting in threatening letters sent to Colorado’s two U.S. Senators and two Representatives appeared to match DeVaughn’s handwriting. Other evidence identifies the handwriting on the February 15, 2008 letter received by the victims as belonging to DeVaughn.
The investigation also revealed that similar threats may have been made against members of the Alabama Congressional delegation as well as the Argentine Embassy and two Argentine Consulates, one in Los Angeles, and the other in New York. The investigation regarding these threats continues.
“All threatening communications are taken seriously, as the recipient of these threats cannot easily determine the threat’s viability,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge James H. Davis. “We will aggressively pursue such threats, along with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners through the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). This investigation is exemplary of the continued value of the JTTF partnerships.”
“The United States Postal Inspection Service wants to remind everyone that it is unlawful to use the mails to send hazardous and dangerous materials as well as threatening correspondence,” said U.S. Postal Inspector In Charge Shawn Tiller. “Security of the mail, Postal employees, and the safety of our customers is a top priority for the Postal Inspection Service. We will investigate and pursue prosecution of anyone who uses the Postal Service in this unlawful way.”
If convicted, DeVaughn faces not more than 5 years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine for mailing a threatening communication.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Joint Terrorism Task Force, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the JTTF with FBI Birmingham. Significant contributions were also made by the Federal Protective Service (FPS), and member agencies of the Denver FBI’s JTTF, including the Denver Police Department, the Aurora Police Department, the Colorado State Patrol, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the ATF and the U.S. Marshals Service.
A Criminal Complaint is a probable cause charging document. Anyone accused of a felony violation of federal law has a Constitutional right to be indicted by a federal grand jury.
DeVaughn is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Greg Holloway.
These charges are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.