DENVER — A group of suspected drug users arrested in Denver this weekend with methamphetamine, guns and bulletproof vests made racist threats against Barack Obama but posed no true danger to the presidential candidate as he accepts the Democratic nomination this week, federal authorities said Tuesday.
The three men — all high on methamphetamine when arrested — are the subject of an assassination investigation but so far, authorities say, it appears that they had no capacity to carry out any attack on Obama.
"The law recognizes a difference between a true threat — one that can be carried out — and the reported racist rantings of a drug addict," U.S. Attorney Troy Eid said.
He said the men's plans were "more aspirational, perhaps, than operational."
An affidavit released by Eid's office Tuesday showed the investigation into alleged threats began with an unnamed female who was with the men — Tharin Gartrell, 28; Shawn Robert Adolf, 33; and Nathan Johnson, 32 — while they were doing drugs in a Denver hotel room last weekend.
The woman told police that the men were calling Obama the N-word and saying he shouldn't live in the White House.
"A bunch of meth heads get together, we don't know why they do what they do. … People do lots of stupid things on meth," Eid said.
Johnson told a Denver TV station that others involved in the case had made racist statements regarding Obama and had discussed killing him Thursday, the day of his acceptance speech at Invesco Field at Mile High.
"He don't belong in political office. Blacks don't belong in political office. He ought to be shot," Johnson told KCNC-TV Monday in an interview from jail.
Gartrell was arrested after police east of Denver stopped a truck swerving erratically around 1:30 a.m. Sunday. He had a suspended driver's license and the truck was rented in the name of another person, said Aurora police Detective Marcus Dudley.
Aurora police Lt. Bob Stef said police saw two scoped rifles, two wigs, camouflage clothing, a bulletproof vest and two walkie-talkies in the truck. A search also revealed 4.4 grams of what police believed to be methamphetamine and three IDs in other people's names, Stef said.
Johnson and Adolf were arrested in area hotel rooms after interviews with Gartrell. Adolf jumped out a sixth-story window when police arrived Sunday. He broke his ankle in the fall.Sphere: Related Content