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White Powder, Sparking Hazmat Response, Was 'Meant to Disrupt'

A Holliston business was quarantined after finding suspicious white powder.

State hazmat units responded to a report of an unknown white powder found in an envelope at the Ashland Police station last week. 

That envelope came from a Holliston Business, Nordost, which received the powder in the mail, according to Holliston's Fire Chief, Michael Cassidy. 

Nordost, along with the Ashland Police station, was quarantined for several hours while hazmat crews set up a field laboratory to determine the composition of the powder, which was later determined to be harmless. 

"The business had about 15 people in it and they were able to keep working," Cassidy said. 

Police protocols, adopted after the anthrax scares of 2001, state that the locations of suspicious materials must be isolated. 

The envelope was sent to its return address, listed as the Nordost cable manufacturing company in Holliston, from Washington DC, Cassidy said. When employees found the suspicious powder, they brought it to the nearby Ashland police station. 

The FBI is currently investigating the source of the envelope. 

Chief Cassidy said that while the sender's location is unknown, his aim is obvious. 

"Clearly the intent is to disrupt," Cassidy said. "It could be to have a large public safety response and tie up lots of municipal money." 

The biggest impact, Cassidy said, was to the Ashland Police Department, which was shut down for several hours.

Cassidy said the envelope was origonally sent in December, which raises doubt for if the powder's sender will be found.

"You have an envelope, you have markings on it, you have postage, and from there there are all these unknowns," Cassidy said. "What it was doing since December?"

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