Las Vegas man indicted in presidential threat case
November 20, 2015
LAS VEGAS — A Las Vegas gun collector who has been in federal custody since June has been indicted on allegations that he threatened to harm President Barack Obama and other government officials.
A two-count indictment filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas stems from allegations that Tyrone Paul Ponthieux posted a Facebook message in November 2014 urging people to get guns and shoot congressmen, senators and Obama. The message called for using a wood-chipper to reduce the dead bodies to fertilizer.
Ponthieux, 55, also is accused of threatening federal officials including an FBI agent.
Ponthieux's defense attorney, Bill Gamage, was traveling to visit Ponthieux and didn't immediately respond Thursday to messages.
Gamage has said his client's statements could be justified as protected First Amendment speech.
The indictment doesn't include marijuana possession and weapon charges contained in a criminal complaint that led to Ponthieux's June 25 arrest. The FBI reported seizing seven registered guns at the home.
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Ponthieux pleaded not guilty June 26 and has been held at a federal prison facility in Pahrump, west of Las Vegas. Preliminary examinations of evidence in the case were postponed five times.
Ponthieux was scheduled to appear Nov. 25 before a U.S. magistrate judge in Las Vegas. He could face up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine on the presidential threat charge.
The criminal complaint pointed to a Facebook page depicting Ponthieux using the name Cyclone and holding an AR-15 assault-style rifle as he sits on the front bumper of a black Hummer SUV.
It cited an expletive-filled November 2014 post calling for people to "get our guns and shoot all of these out of control congressmen and senators and Obama!"
Ponthieux told Joint Terrorism Task Force members who interviewed him that he feels the U.S. government no longer supports the American people, and it's Obama's fault, the complaint said.
The document also alleged that Ponthieux had been overheard by a neighbor asking someone about obtaining ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer chemical that can be mixed with other chemicals to make explosives, according to the complaint.
No explosives or bomb-making materials were found in a search of the home.