An inmate in upstate New York pleaded not guilty today to sending anthrax hoax letters to federal courts in Washington, Virginia and New York, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of New York.
Roberto Cepeda, who is serving time in a New York state prison on unrelated charges, was indicted on June 23 on charges of sending envelopes in 2007 with an unknown substance to U.S. district court clerks' offices in Washington, Harrisonburg, Va., Charlottesville, Va., Alexandria, Va., and Syracuse, N.Y.
A letter included in the envelope sent to the Washington courthouse stated, according to the indictment, “This is ANTHRAX.” Similar notes were allegedly sent to the other courts.
If convicted, Cepeda could face up to five years of additional federal prison time for each of the letters and a maximum fine of $250,000, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Cepeda did not have counsel listed as of this afternoon. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory West could not immediately be reached.