Federal officials have arrested a 32-year-old Sacramento man on allegations that he mailed dozens of threatening letters nationwide - some containing white powder – to police agencies, churches and other addressees.
Darnell Ray Owens was arrested in Oklahoma on Friday, the same day officials filed a sealed, 36-page criminal complaint charging him with interstate threats and conducting a hoax involving biological weapons.
The complaint, which was unsealed Monday in federal court in Sacramento, alleges that between February 2018 and this month Owens sent about 45 threatening letters.
“As a general matter, many of the letters contain threats to kill police officers, other government officials, homosexuals, and ‘white people,’ and to try to incite a race war,” according to an FBI affidavit filed in support of the complaint.
The targets of the letters, which were written in what the complaint refers to as “distinctive” handwriting, ranged from apartment complexes to the Sacramento LGBT Center to the KTXL Fox 40 television station in Sacramento.
Federal officials used DNA evidence to tie Owens to the case, which included evidence that he used computers to send bogus threats purporting to be from other individuals, the complaint says.
“The diction and threats are consistent, including recurring, obscure references to biblical or religious terminology, as well as the target of the threats,” the FBI affidavit says.
The court documents redact various names of individuals questioned about threats allegedly received from Owens, who is described as having no known address or past employment but had studied on a very limited basis at Sacramento City College.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento said Owens was arrested in Tulsa, and that he could face up to five years for each count in the complaint.