Man Accused of Hoax Letters to Receive Psychiatric Evaluation

A Rowlett man will have to undergo a psychiatric evaluation before going to trial or making a plea bargain after being accused of sending hundreds of threatening hoax letters around the world.

Hong Minh Truong, 66, needed a Vietnamese translator in federal court in Dallas Monday when his attorney, Sam Ogan, motioned for the evaluation. Judge Irma C. Ramirez granted the motion, which the prosecutor had no objection to.

Investigators said Truong sent more than 500 hoax letters containing white powder to locations around the world from North Texas.

At first, that white powder appeared to be anthrax, but all the letters were a hoax. They were sent to places like U.S. embassies, schools around the country and even Lockheed Martin in Grand Prairie and a preschool in Dallas.

The letters caused a lot of unnecessary emergency responses dating back to 2008.

After investigators tracked down Truong last week, they found letters at his home that stated pro al-Qaida references and documents that stated Truong said he heard voices in his head and believed police were beaming radar into his body.

Truong is in the custody of the U.S. Marshals.

If he is found competent to stand trial and found guilty, he could get a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

A trial date has not been set yet. 

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