Louisiana Federal Inmate Found Guilty of Mailing Suspicious Letters to United States Senate

Published 2:30 pm Friday, July 16, 2021

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LAFAYETTE, La. – Clifton Lamar Dodd, 49, a federal inmate, has been found guilty by a jury in Lafayette of mailing a number of hoax letters to United States Senate post office boxes, Acting United States Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook announced. United States District Judge James D. Cain, Jr. presided over the four-day trial.

According to evidence presented at trial, on May 2, 2016, personnel at the United States Senate mail facility received four suspicious mailed envelopes, each containing a white powdery substance. Each envelope bore a return address of FCI Oakdale and each listed a different inmate as the purported sender. The United States Capitol Police’s Hazardous Response Unit responded and confirmed that the white powder was merely talcum powder. In addition to the talcum powder, each letter contained a note scrawled in all caps on a small scrap of paper that stated, “MY BOSS MADE ME DO THIS.” On the back of each note was the name of four different inmates, all of which were housed at FCI Oakdale.

U.S. Capitol Police and agents from the FBI and Bureau of Prisons began an investigation into the origin of the letters. Agents interviewed the inmates whose names were listed as senders of the letters and learned that Dodd had sent one of the inmates threatening notes and bragged about getting the inmate removed from the prison yard. FBI submitted the hoax letters to its crime lab for forensic evaluation and found one of Dodd’s fingerprints on the outside of one of the envelopes.

Dodd faces a penalty of up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. Sentencing has been set for October 28, 2021.

The FBI, Bureau of Prisons, and U.S. Capitol Police conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney T. Forrest Phillips prosecuted the case.