Ocala, Florida — Suspicious packages/envelopes have been received at several locations throughout Marion County.
- Lake Weir High School (County)
- Forest High Schoool (County)
- Belleview High School (County)
- Hillcrest School ( City)
- Marion County Court House (City)
- Ocala Star Banner (City)
- Elk’s Lodge (City)
- Westport High School (City)
- Blessed Trinity School (City)
- Marion County School Board
- Marion County Jail
According to the Ocala Police Department, Marion County Fire Rescue Hazmat team is on scene at the Marion County Judicial Center in response to an envelope that contains suspicious white powder. One envelope was received in the mail room and staff immediately shut off the vents, along with the closing off the mail room.
According to MCFR Hazmat, the courthouse is temporarily shut down until the packages can be cleared as being a threat. Ventilation to other areas of the courthouse have been closed off, however, all other court proceedings (hearings) will continue as normal.
If you have a court hearing today, you will be required to attend, according to authorities.
Ocala Fire Rescue has indicated that the substance found in the package at Lake Weir High School tested negative for hazardous material. The package actually contained a grocery product (artificial sweetener).
Authorities say these types of threats must be taken seriously, no one should ever assume a suspicious package is a hoax.
The investigation is ongoing, according to Ocala Police.
[Updated June 10, 2014 at 2:15 p.m.]
According to officials, the white powdery substance found in an envelope received at the court house has also been identified as artificial sweeter. The courthouse is now fully operational.