Montevallo man pleads guilty to conspiracy to mail hoax anthrax letters

Milstead Earl “Mickey” Darden plead guilty June 29 to conspiracy to mail hoax anthrax letters in April, U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and U.S. Postal Inspection Service Inspector in Charge Martin Phanco announced.

Darden, 38, said he and Clifton Lamar “Cliff” Dodd, also 38, of Lincoln, mailed eight threatening letters containing white powder on April 24. The men were arrested by U.S. Postal Inspectors after they deposited the letters at the Pell City Post Office. The white powder was tested and not found to be anthrax.

“Tampering with U.S. mail is a serious offense and sending hoax letters to scare postal customers is something that cannot be tolerated,” Phanco said. “Because of the disruption to mail service that such letters cause, the penalties can be just as severe as if they had sent something hazardous.”

The maximum penalty for conspiracy to mail hoax anthrax letters is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Darden’s sentencing is scheduled Oct. 4 at 9:30 a.m. Dodd’s case remains pending and a trial date hasn’t been set.