In Brisbane, Australia, two greeting cards managed to shut down an entire police station. The building was evacuated and a 50 meter exclusion zone was set up. Anthrax, a potent biological weapon, was suspected to be inside the greeting cards.
When an unidentified Australian man looked through his mail, he was surprised with two greeting cards. He was surprised once again upon discovering that one of the cards contained roughly 2g of white powder. Believing the powder to be dangerous, he placed both cards in a plastic bag for transport. The anonymous man drove straight to Boondall Police Station in north Brisbane.
Bringing a potential chemical weapon to a police department went as well as one could have expected. The police responded aptly. Boondall Police Station was flagged with do-not-cross tape while Queensland Fire and Emergency Service were dispatched. The building was completely evacuated by 8pm.
Forensics teams were then seen sweeping the building in bright yellow Hazmat suits and gas masks. According to ABC, Queensland Fire and Emergency Service conducted a dip-test on the suspicious powder; preliminary results indicate that the man received 2g of cocaine. Due to the very nature of the test, the dip-test is a very inconclusive test. Since the man unexpectedly received powder in the mail, investigators wanted a more in-depth analysis. The powder was then sent to the John Tonge Centre for further testing.
The presence of cocaine did, however, give the Boondall Police Station staff an opportunity to get back to work. By 10pm, the building was back to being operational.
Both birthday cards and the illegal contents within them were mailed from an address in the UK. Queensland Police are working with British law enforcement to track down the sender. There are major consequences for mailing controlled substances but the anthrax scare makes the investigation more intense.
DailyMail points out that “In 2008, a live batch of anthrax was accidentally sent to Australia in a bungle by the US military.”