Pubdate: Fri, 03 May 2013
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2013 The Washington Times, LLC.
Author: David Sherfinski
Page: A2


Fired Shots at White House in 2011

A man accused of trying to assassinate President Obama in 2011 was
angry about the federal government's policy on the criminalization of
marijuana, according to new court documents.

Oscar Ortega-Hernandez has been accused of firing shots at the White
House on Nov. 11, 2011. Neither Mr. Obama nor first lady Michelle
Obama were there at the time.

According to new documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the
District of Columbia, Mr. Ortega-Hernandez purchased an AK-47 style
rifle in Idaho for $550, as well as more than 1,200 rounds of
ammunition in March 2011. Over the course of the next six months,
prosecutors say, "Ortega-Hernandez practiced firing the assault rifle
at a desolate crater located on land owned by the Bureau of Land
Management outside of Idaho Falls, Idaho."

The government also intends to introduce evidence "that the defendant
smoked marijuana, admitted using marijuana, and expressed anger toward
the government regarding the continued criminalization of marijuana."

According to an arrest warrant, Mr. Ortega-Hernandez drove more than
2,000 miles from his Idaho Falls home to the District, where he fired
as many as eight shots at the White House. After he crashed his car
several blocks away, he fled on foot and eventually was tracked by
police to a hotel in western Pennsylvania hotel.

Mr. Ortega-Hernandez previously had been quoted as calling Mr. Obama
"the Antichrist."

A CBS affiliate flagged a video made at Idaho State University in
September 2011 in which Mr. Ortega-Hernandez says that "it's not just
a coincidence that I look like Jesus. I am the modern day Jesus Christ
that you all have been waiting for."

"[T]he defendant claims that smoking marijuana makes people more
intelligent and claims that the government refuses to decriminalize
marijuana, 'because, if we were all more intelligent as a whole, it
would be harder to deceive us,'" according to the documents filed this

The evidence is not being offered to show his character, the filings
say, but that "when the defendant fired his assault rifle at the White
House on November 11, 2011, the defendant's motive and intent was to
punish and kill the president, who he believed was the head of a
government that was oppressing its citizens in various ways, such as
by continuing to criminalize the use of marijuana."

Though a number of states have legalized marijuana for recreational or
medicinal purposes, the drug is illegal under federal law.

Mr. Obama said in December that it was time "to have a conversation"
about the conflicting federal and state statutes, but National Drug
Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske said last month that "no
state, no executive can nullify a statute that has been passed by
Congress ... let's be clear: Law enforcement officers take an oath of
office to uphold federal law and they are going to continue to pursue
drug traffickers and drug dealers."

However, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service wrote a recent
legal analysis saying that "although the federal government may use
its power of the purse to encourage states to adopt certain criminal
laws, the federal government is limited in its ability to directly
influence state policy by the Tenth Amendment."

Rep. Jared Polis, Colorado Democrat, said he hopes the Department of
Justice will conduct a similar analysis.

"If they do, they are sure to reach the same conclusion: It is
perfectly legal for states to regulate marijuana as they see fit," he

Mr. Polis introduced a bill earlier this year that directs the
attorney general to issue a final order that removes marijuana in any
form from all schedules of controlled substances under the Controlled
Substances Act.
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