11/18/2004 12:00AM

Iowa owner has powder scare

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Iowa Thoroughbred owner and attorney Maggi Moss, who has been investigating how one of her retired runners got from a Massachusetts farm to a slaughter auction against her wishes, this week received a threatening letter accompanied by a vial of suspicious powder.

The powder has since been identified as an amphetamine, Moss said Thursday, and is not harmful.

The anonymous letter arrived at Moss's law firm in Des Moines on Monday. Moss opened the letter herself, according to a report in the Des Moines Register, but did not report the threat or the vial of powder that accompanied it until Tuesday, when another firm employee was exposed to it. A hazardous-materials team spent several hours at the firm, where about 20 employees were inside. Moss said local law enforcement authorities are running additional tests on the powder.

Moss said Thursday that she believes the letter was related to her horse business rather than to her law firm. She would not disclose the contents of the letter, except to say it included the line, "You're moving too fast."

Moss said, "I think this is horse-related because it was wrapped in some July advertising from the Thoroughbred Times." She added, "My legal practice is much more civil-oriented than criminal-oriented these days."