Federal prosecutors are attempting to block the pre-trial release of a Pennsylvania man with militia ties who faces a charge in Texas that he threatened to kill President Obama before or during the president’s inauguration.
William Mose Tucker, 20, was arrested in Oklahoma on Jan. 20, a day before inauguration. A Jan. 16 federal indictment says he “did knowingly and willfully make a threat to take the life of and to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States.”
Tucker acknowledged to Secret Service agents that he had attended meetings of a group in El Paso called the “20th Militia,” consisting of current and former members of the military. The El Paso Times reported this week that the group has been investigated in the past by federal authorities.
The Secret Service began investigating Tucker after agents were contacted by someone who heard him threaten to kill the president, according to court documents. Agents interviewed him late last year, and he provided a telephone number where he could be contacted. But he couldn’t be located between Jan. 14 and 20 when law enforcement agents went to “numerous locations” in El Paso and Fort Bliss in Texas and to the defendant’s family home in Pennsylvania, the documents say. Tucker moved from Pennsylvania to El Paso in 2011 with his sister and brother-in-law, who was in the Army, the El Paso Times reported.
Finally, using a ruse, agents located and arrested Tucker in Lawton, Okla., where he was selling magazines the day before Obama was inaugurated. Tucker has been in jail since his arrest. At a detention hearing last month in El Paso, U.S. Magistrate Robert Castañeda ordered Tucker detained without bond because he posed a “threat to the community.”
Tucker’s defense attorney subsequently filed a request to have the magistrate’s detention order reviewed by U.S. District Judge Philip Martinez. A hearing on that review is scheduled for March 26. A trial date has not been set.
The defense argues that Tucker should be released on bond before trial, claiming he doesn’t pose a risk and there is no evidence he planned on following through with the alleged threat.
Besides being a flight risk, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory E. McDonald claims in court documents that Tucker has received firearms training from the Texas militia group. “Although the Defendant admitted he did not own any firearms, the evidence showed he did have access and even kept them for other militia members,” McDonald wrote in a court filing.
After a more in-depth investigation, the Secret Service now believes Tucker “was not being truthful and provided false information” during initial interviews with agents, the federal prosecutor’s motion said.