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Illinois Man Admits Threatening Family With Mailed Substance

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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois man faces up to 15 years in federal prison now that he’s pleaded guilty to charges that he threatened a family with a mailed white substance and a letter saying they should seek immediate medical treatment.

Sixty-seven-year-old Gary Smith of Livingston pleaded guilty Friday in East St. Louis to felony counts of mailing a threatening communication and making a false threat.

Authorities allege that Smith mailed the letter last June in Madison County. The letter said that the family’s hands were on fire from the granular substance purported to be anthrax in the envelope and that they’d been infected with a disease.

Prosecutors say Smith used unspecified food ingredients to mimic anthrax.

Smith also faces up to $500,000 in fines when sentenced Aug. 8.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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