SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Darnell Ray Owens, 32, of Sacramento, was arrested March 22 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after being charged in Sacramento with mailing threatening communications and a hoax involving biological weapons, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to the criminal complaint, between February 2018 and March 2019, Owens allegedly sent approximately 50 letters and online complaints to law enforcement agencies, individuals and organizations, in which he made threats to kill police officers, other government officials, homosexuals, and “white people.” He used return addresses of people he knew with the apparent purpose of having others blamed for sending the letters. Owens allegedly mailed no less than two letters containing a white powder, intending that the recipients would believe the powder to be a biological weapon. The majority of the letters were sent via the U.S. Postal Service and were postmarked from Sacramento.
According to the criminal complaint, in July 2018, one of the letters containing white powder was sent to a church in Dallas, Texas with a threat to assassinate the pastor. On August 3, 2018, the Sacramento County Department of Revenue Recovery received a letter containing white powder, and the letter threatened to burn down the department and kill “a lot of people.” On October 24, 2018, a television news station, KTXL Fox40 received a letter threatening to kill certain employees at the station. The last letter Owens allegedly sent was to the Sacramento County District Attorney, threatening her life.
This case is the product of an ongoing investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the City of Sacramento Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Shea J. Kenny is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Owens faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison for each count. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.