UPDATE: Police say there is “insufficient evidence” to charge three men who were allegedly planning to assassinate Barack Obama.
The men were arrested in Denver, Colorado, in connection with drugs and weapons offences.
Political editor Adam Boulton, in Denver, said one of the group is reported to have made comments alerting police to a potential assassination plot against the leader of the Democrats. But speaking at a press conference, police said the men were drug addicts.
US Attorney Troy Eid said: “There is insufficient evidence that there was any kind of a plot or a threat but we’ll keep an open mind as we look.
Authorities in Denver have scheduled a press conference Tuesday afternoon amid a report by a television station of a plot to assassinate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) during his Thursday speech at the Democratic convention at Invesco Field.
Police say they will discuss the facts surrounding a traffic stop in Aurora, Colo., where methamphetamine and firearms were found. Several people are being held in state custody and federal charges are anticipated, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office in Denver.
Nothing in the news release suggests the arrests have anything to do with the convention or a plot to attack Obama, although a Secret Service agent is among the law enforcement officials scheduled to appear on Tuesday.
According to a report by KUSA-TV, at least four people are under arrest in connection with a plot to kill Obama during his speech Thursday night at Invesco Field. The television station cited law enforcement sources as saying one of the suspects said the group planned to come to Denver to kill Obama.
One of the suspects told authorities they were “going to shoot Obama from a high vantage point using a … rifle … sighted at 750 yards,” according to the KUSA report.
There is a great deal of speculation surrounding this story.
This story will be updated after the press conference or when additional details become available.
Make no doubt about it, such an act, is an act of terrorism and an assault on the ideals and principles of which this country was founded.
Terrorism defined, is the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature.
It needs to be condemned regardless of political affiliation.
Police were investigating tonight if they had disrupted an assassination plot against Barack Obama after two men were arrested near the Democratic convention in Denver with two rifles, a high-powered telescopic scope and the powerful stimulant methamphetamine.
The men were arrested in a routine incident involving a traffic policeman.
The first man, identified by a Denver television station as Tharin Gartrell, 28, was charged with suspicion of being a felon in possession of a weapon after police found the rifles in his car.
When police accompanied Mr Gartrell to his hotel in Denver a second man jumped from a window and was injured in a four-story fall. That man was then arrested.
Federal officials are downplaying the arrests, saying when one of the men was arrested, he made a threat against Obama, but they do not believe it was based on any kind of plan or actually intent.
CBS4 has now learned at least four people are under arrest in connection with a possible plot to kill Barack Obama at his Thursday night acceptance speech in Denver. All are being held on either drug or weapons charges.
CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass reported one of the suspects told authorities they were “going to shoot Obama from a high vantage point using a … rifle … sighted at 750 yards.”
Law enforcement sources tell Maass that one of the suspects “was directly asked if they had come to Denver to kill Obama. He responded in the affirmative.”
The story began emerging Sunday morning when Aurora police arrested 28-year-old Tharin Gartrell. He was driving a rented pickup truck in an erratic manner according to sources.
Troy Eid, the U.S. attorney for Colorado, said federal law enforcement is working hand-in-glove with the Aurora Police Department.”
He added: We’re absolutely confident there is no credible threat to the candidate, the Democratic National Convention, or the people of Colorado.”
The truck’s driver, driving with a suspended license, Dudley said. He was charged with drug possession and material to make methamphetamines.
Nathan Johnson, 32, was arrested by local and federal authorities at a Denver hotel near Interstate 25, which runs past Invesco Field, where Obama is scheduled to give his acceptance speech Aug. 28, Dudley said.
Shawn Robert Adolf, 33, was held on seven outstanding warrants. He jumped out a sixth-floor hotel room in Glendale as police entered and was later taken into custody, Dudley said. Adolf suffered a broken ankle from the fall.
The three belonged to the white supremacist group Aryan Nation, said Victor Ross, police chief in Glendale, a suburb of Denver where one of the suspects was arrested. The other two were arrested in Aurora, another suburb.
We don’t usually have that number of Aryan Nation people here,” Ross said. It was suspicious to us. We turned everything over to the federal authorities.”
FBI spokeswoman Kathleen Wright said federal authorities had opened a drugs and weapons investigation in connection with the arrests. The U.S. attorney’s office in Denver said in a brief statement that federal charges were anticipated.