Man who sent threatening communications to president and u.S. senator while in Larimer county jail sentenced to federal prison
DENVER – Thomas Daniel Sanchez, age 25, of Larimer County, was sentenced earlier this week by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Wiley Y. Daniel to serve 84 months (7 years) in federal prison for threatening the President of the United States, U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, and assaulting an FBI agent, U.S. Attorney John Walsh, FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle and U.S. Secret Service Denver Office Special Agent in Charge Bruce Ward announced. Following his prison sentence, Sanchez will then have to serve 3 years on supervised release. The defendant appeared at the sentencing hearing in custody, and was remanded at its conclusion.
Sanchez was indicted on September 1, 2011. A superseding indictment was obtained on November 30, 2011. Sanchez pled guilty to mailing a threat to kill U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, mailing a threat to kill the President of the United States, and forcibly assaulting an FBI Special Agent. He was sentenced by Judge Daniel on June 12, 2013.
According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, on June 7, 2011, U.S. Capitol Police reported that Thomas Daniel Sanchez, an inmate at the Larimer County Detention Center, had written a letter addressed to United States Senator Michael Bennet, stating that he was in contact with a “terrorist group” with plans to kill the Senator. He also suggested that there were plans against the President. That day, two FBI Special Agents went to interview Sanchez. During the interview, Sanchez reiterated the information contained in the threatening letter. At the end of the interview, Sanchez stood up and deliberately spit in the face and eyes of one of the FBI agents. When warned not to do that again, the defendant leaned forward and threatened the agent. Perceiving the threat, the FBI agent restrained Sanchez until prison officials took control and escorted him out of the interview room.
Following the interview, Sanchez continually called the FBI Fort Collins office, reiterating various threats. He stated that he was “anti-government” and “a known terrorist.” He also claimed to have access to guns and a plane. On June 14, 2011, Sanchez was again interviewed by the FBI. He stated that he fully intended to kill the President. Sanchez continued writing letters between June and September 2011. He repeated and reaffirmed his threats. He also wrote a letter to the Secret Service threatening Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and various other government officials.
“Threatening a government official, or assaulting a federal agent, carries severe consequences,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “Threatening the life of the President of the United States, and a United States Senator, and assaulting an FBI agent results in a serious prison sentence.”
“The FBI considers threats against the President and members of Congress, and assaults on federal agents as serious criminal violations,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle. “Working with our partners, we will pursue these matters with vigor.”
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the United States Secret Service (USSS).
The defendant was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark Barrett.