A U.S. citizen who lived in Mexico City has been convicted in Miami of mailing threatening letters to several American presidential candidates in September 2015.
John Miltron Nagel, 47, pleaded guilty last week to three counts of mailing threatening communications from a foreign country and now faces up to five years in prison, three years supervised release and a $250,000 fine on each count, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami.
Nagel's change of plea marks the culmination of a court case that drew media attention after the American was arrested in Mexico City after he mailed several envelopes filled with a white powder to several candidates including Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Nagel drew the suspicion of a postal inspector at the main post office in Mexico City when the inspector noticed white powder dripping from the letters the man held in his hands.
The Mexican postal inspector refused to take the man's letters, though he later managed to put the letters in a mailbox outside the post office. He was eventually arrested and turned over to the FBI.
Though the letters contained threats, they did not contain any toxic substance, according to court records. The white powder turned out to be bicarbonate mixed with salts, the records said.
A person claiming to be Nagel has posted a variety of articles on the internet identifying himself either as a journalist or CIA whistle-blower. The articles also claimed that President Barack Obama had approved a "doomsday Zombie plan."
According to court documents, between Sept. 1 and Sept. 18, Nagel entered the Mexico City main post office and dropped off 37 envelopes all addressed to the candidates, other prominent U.S. political figures and business leaders, each containing a threatening letter and a white powdery substance.
The first page of each letter read “FREE SAMPLE OF EXECUTIVE TOOTH POWDER - ACTIVATES WITH HYDROGEN PEROXIDE. DO NOT SWALLOW! H2O2 MAY BE POISONOUS IF SWALLOWED DON'T PANIC, EVACUATE OR CALL 911…or there will be consequences...Mathew 13:49.” According to the King James version of the Bible, Matthew 13:49 states: “So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just.”
The case began on Sept. 1 when a then-unidentified man attempted to mail three letters from the main post office near the Palace of Fine Arts in the colonial section of downtown Mexico City.
As the man turned in his letters, a postal employee noticed the white powder leaking out of the enveloped, an FBI criminal complaint said.
The Mexican postal inspector questioned the man, who later was identified as Nagel, and ordered him to leave the post office. Nagel then purchased postage stamps and deposited the letters in the mailbox outside the post office.
The postal inspector opened the mailbox after Nagel left and retrieved his letters.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, the U.S. Attorney in Miami, and George L. Piro, the FBI's Special Agent in Charge, Miami Field Office, announced the change of plea. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI.
The case is being prosecuted by assistant U.S. attorneys Marc S. Anton and Ricardo A. Del Toro.
Sentencing has been scheduled for late May before U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez.
Alfonso Chardy: 305-376-3435, @AlfonsoChardy