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Montana Woman Indicted for Mailing Gun to Tester's Senate Office

Two suspicious packages addressed to Tester caught the attention of Senate mail screening facility staff. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

   

A federal court has indicted a Montana woman for allegedly shipping a .22 handgun and ammunition to Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.  

Cathleen Roselyn Cantlon, 56, pleaded not guilty on June 29 to charges of interstate mailing of a firearm and ammunition and possession of a firearm and ammunition by a person who has been committed to a mental institution. On May 18, staff at the Senate mail facility in Landover, Md., discovered that a package addressed to "Homeland Security Sentoe Johns Tester" contained dangerous items including a a handgun, knife, and some form of liquid, according to court documents. An X-ray alerted staff to the package, bound for the Hart Senate Office Building, and they flagged a second package from the same return address, listed as Kootenai Drug True Value, in Troy, Mont.  

Staff called Capitol Police around 11:20 a.m., and hazardous materials technicians responded to the mail facility. Further examination revealed the first package contained a loaded Taurus .22 handgun, a knife, pepper spray, 53 rounds of .22 caliber ammunition, a holster, a five-page letter, and miscellaneous papers and mail. The second package contained miscellaneous papers including an envelope labeled, "Hazard Contaminated/Dirty Bomb."  

The five-page, handwritten letter, addressed to Tester, references "mental health issues and banking issues," according to the initially sealed documents. The letter also references receiving numerous "letter bombs and toxic poison." The final page was allegedly signed by Cantlon, listing her name, a postal office box, physical address and cellphone number.  

Capitol Police contacted the local sheriff's office, which provided an October 2014 incident report in which two firearms were seized from Cantlon and later returned to her, including the Taurus handgun.  

Capitol Police agents then interviewed employees of the Kootenai Drug True Value and provided the tracking number on the parcel. The employee stated that she remembered the customer "Cathy" mailing the packages, and stated she had a conversation regarding the need to tape the boxes, according to court documents.  

On May 19, Capitol Police contacted the Lincoln County Sheriff office and requested officers respond to Cantlon's residence to attempt an interview. When approached by officers, Cantlon allegedly responded, "It's none of your fucking business — get off my property."  

If convicted on the most serious charge contained in the indictment, Cantlon faces 10 years in prison, $250,000 in fines and 3 years probation.  

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