State police spokesman Peter Olson said a school employee in Taft’s administrative building opened a letter that was addressed to Taft Middle School just before dismissal Monday which contained a mysterious white powder. Police said four other people were in the room with that employee.
One of the people in the room called 911 and firefighters responded. Four initial firefighters called in backup from state police and the National Guard.
The National Guard is analyzing the white powder to see whether it is dangerous. National Guard officials said the five employees, the four fighters firefighters and a Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputy stayed in quarantine and were later transported to University of New Mexico Hospital for further testing.
Officials said no students were exposed and the school was not locked down. Employees managed to do an orderly school dismissal.
The powder is now being taken to the state crime lab in Albuquerque for official tests.
The commander for the Weapons of Mass Destruction Unit with the National Guard said every threat is taken with care and caution.
“You know, if you look at the situation, if it got out of hand or had explosives connected to it, or was weaponized, it would be a threat to the state and to all these kids here at the scene,” said Lt. Col Bill Shuert. “We go in and do our operations like it’s the real thing.”
State police will take over the criminal investigation and work with the postal service to find the person responsible.