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Package Checked for Hazards

By Dale Gathright, Jr., 07/22/20 8:16 AM


HOPE – Monday night Hempstead County Deputies were called to a residence on County Road 157 in reference to a package received in the mail. The package, from Shanghai, China, was addressed to an 18-year-old who lives at the residence. After determining that no one in the home had ordered anything from Shanghai, the parents called the Sheriff’s office.

Deputies arrived and discovered a clear plastic bag addressed to the 18-year-old with the correct address of the residence. It contained three face masks with a return address on the labeling of Shanghai, China.

“One of the parents of the 18-year-old had heard about a similar incident in another state where the same type package was received by a juvenile member of a family and became ill,” according to Sheriff James Singleton. “After deputies were advised of that, and out of an abundance of caution, deputies donned PPE (personal protective equipment), retrieved the package and placed it at a safe and secure location until a haz-mat team from the Arkansas National Guard could arrive and conduct testing.”

Tests determined it “posed no threat and was not contaminated with any foreign substance.” The Guard unit placed the package into a haz-mat bag and turned it back over to deputies for transport to a facility where it will be destroyed.

Sheriff Singleton said, “I would like to stress that no family member or Deputies sustained any injury from this incident. I would caution our citizens about receiving unsolicited packages wherever they come from. Please remain vigilant and safe if you encounter a suspicious package and immediately call your local law enforcement agency.”