Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Feds charge three in 'Obama plot'

Federal charges were filed Tuesday against three men who allegedly talked of killing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

But none of the charges concerned threats against Obama, and U.S. Attorney for Colorado Troy Eid stressed that the three never posed any serious danger to the Illinois senator.

"A bunch of meth heads put together; I don't know what they do," Eid said at a packed press conference with some 50 reporters from across the globe as the Democratic National Convention got underway. "There is no credible threat right now and there was no credible threat."

The three men face a variety of charges including possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of body armor by a violent felon, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. The three are Shawn Robert Adolf, 33; Tharin Robert Gartrell, 28; and Nathan Dwaine Johnson, 32.

Adolf talked of killing Obama during his "inauguration," and in Denver, according to the criminal complaint, but it is unclear if inauguration referred to Obama's planned acceptance speech for the nomination at Invesco Field Thursday.

The complaint also says the three men reportedly referred to Obama with a racial epithet and that such a person should never live in the White House. They "could not believe how close he (Obama) was to becoming president."

The conversation took place at the Hyatt Regency Tech Center - Denver, where Johnson had a room, and the three thought Obama had a room there too.

The investigation started Sunday around 1:30 a.m. when Aurora police pulled Gartrell over because an officer believed he was driving erratically. Police say they found two rifles with scopes, ammunition, and a bullet proof vest in a rented blue Dodge Ram pickup. Police also found a suspected mobile meth lab in the back seat and 4.4 grams of meth in Gartrell's pants pocket, according to the complaint.

Investigators also say they found wigs, a black stocking cap, black tactical pants, camouflage clothing, several laptops, several books on committing fraud, and suspected stolen credit cards and phone cards.

Eid said investigators are still looking into whether the men are connected to any white supremacist group.

Adolf was arrested at the Cherry Creek Hotel in Glendale around 6:30 a.m. Sunday after jumping out of his hotel room window on the sixth floor to a lower roof, then to the ground, according to the criminal complaint. Police also recovered about 35 grams of meth from the hotel room.

A visiting reporter said a large contingent of national press corps covering the DNC was staying at the hotel, but "We slept right through it."

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