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Judge: Man accused of mailing explosives to the White House found not competent

SEATTLE — A federal judge has ruled that a Washington state man accused of mailing explosive devices to government agencies is not competent to participate in his court case and help in his defense.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Miyake told U.S. District Judge John Coughenour Thursday that a competency evaluation for Thanh Cong Phan found him to have schizophrenia.

The mental health expert who examined Phan said she doesn't believe he is able to assist his lawyer in his defense. Miyake said Phan should be sent to a hospital for four months to have his competency restored before the case can go forward. The judge agreed.

An indictment against Phan says 11 packages containing explosive materials were mailed to government agencies on March 16. The agencies — the Secret Service, a Naval Base and FBI headquarters — received the packages on March 26. The FBI said Thursday that it has linked a total of 18 packages to Phan.

The FBI traced the packages to a post office in Mill Creek, Washington, and surveillance photos connected them to Phan.

None of the devices ignited.

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