AUGUSTA — Police said a suspicious powder found in a piece of mail sent to the state Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions office in Augusta this week has tested negative for dangerous toxins.

The discovery of a “white, powdery substance” prompted law enforcement to evacuate workers from the Burton M. Cross Building on Tuesday, according to Shannon Moss, spokesperson for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

The envelope containing the powder was found in the office’s pile of regular mail around 4:20 p.m., she said.

The Burton M. Cross building, at 11 Sewall St., is part of Maine’s capitol complex and is connected to the State House by a tunnel. The building is also near the Blaine House, where the governor lives.

Tuesday’s incident is the latest in a string of false alarms that have disrupted government workers in recent weeks. Earlier this month, the State House and courthouses in Augusta and Portland were evacuated after police received hoax calls about bombs there. Several other states received similar hoax threats.

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows has also been targeted in a recent swatting incident following her decision to remove former President Donald Trump from Maine’s Republican primary ballot.


On Tuesday, only the fourth floor of the Cross building, where the envelope was opened, was evacuated while police investigated. An on-scene test of the substance showed it was not harmful, and a second test performed Wednesday confirmed those results, Moss said.

The Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions is the only branch of the Department of the Secretary of State that operates out of the Cross building. The fourth floor is largely occupied by Department of Administrative and Financial Services offices.

Augusta police and fire departments, the Maine State Police, the Department of Environmental Protection and the National Guard Civil Support Team assisted with the response, Moss said.

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles, another branch of the Department of the Secretary of State, is leading the investigation.

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