Crime & Public Safety

Suspicious package delivered to Sea Pines home contained foreign spice

Powder in a suspicious package delivered to a Hilton Head Island home Monday turned out to be a foreign cooking spice, according to a news release from the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff's deputies were called to Briarwood Villas in Sea Pines at about 4:30 p.m. Monday. A woman had initially called Sea Pines Security when she received a package that contained an unknown white, powdery substance.

The woman had been expecting a package from overseas, so when she received it, she opened it. However, after seeing the contents, she noticed the return address was unfamiliar and became concerned.

The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office Bomb Squad was called to the scene to secure the package and assess it for any explosive threat. Members of the Hilton Head/Bluffton hazardous materials team also responded.

Both the woman and the Sea Pines security officer were decontaminated and transported to a hospital for evaluation.

Officials contacted the postal carrier, the local U.S. postal inspector and the Bow Circle post office that had processed and delivered the package. Although the post office had closed for the day, deputies quarantined the building and remaining personnel until the package was identified as non-hazardous.

A local FBI agent with the Joint Terrorism Task Force further assessed any public threats, and members of the U.S. National Guard 43rd Civil Support Team were requested out of Fort Jackson to perform an on-site analysis of the powder.

At about 2 a.m., it was determined the substance was a cooking spice from Ethiopia and not hazardous. It's not believed that the package was sent with malicious intent.

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