BLACKFOOT - The Bingham County Courthouse is on lockdown after an envelope containing white powder was discovered in the Treasurer's Office.
Update 3:45 p.m.: The courthouse remains on lockdown. The regional hazmat team from Pocatello has suited up and is running a battery of test on the substance outside the courthouse.
The lockdown went into effect at noon. The envelope was discovered approximately 45 minutes earlier in the Treasurer's Office on the first floor of the courthouse. A regional hazmat team from Pocatello arrived at the courthouse around 1:30 p.m. and law enforcement has established a perimeter around the building.
Bingham County Commissioner Whitney Manwaring said the lockdown is a precaution for the safety of the public and the employees in the courthouse. Bingham County Sheriff Dave Johnson estimates they could be as many as 300 people in the building including the jail population. Current jail bookings list 73 people inside the jail.
Maggie Mann, director of the Southeastern District Health Department, said the regional hazmat team will enter the building and run preliminary tests on the substance to try to determine if it is hazardous. The substance will need to be sent to Boise for additional testing.
A sign on the courthouse door reads "The Courthouse is closed until further notice."
Twice in November a white powdery substance was discovered at the Idaho State Capitol. Both times the substance was found to be harmless.
In June of 2010 several federal government buildings throughout the Northwest received similar envelopes. That substance was tested and found to be not hazardous.
We will update this story when additional information becomes available.