February 2, 2010
Jim Letten, United States Attorney
Contact: Kathy English
(504) 589-4978 (fax)
New Orleans Man Pleads Guilty to Making Threats to Kill President Obama and to Drug and Firearms Offenses
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA — JOHN TURNPAUGH, age 47, a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, pled guilty today in federal court before U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey to making threats to kill the President; possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute it; and to possessing four firearms in furtherance of his drug trafficking activity, announced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.
According to the factual basis, TURNPAUGH admitted on December 30, 2009, he called an New Orleans Police Department 911 operator and stated, “Yeah, hey, I’m going to kill President Barack Obama and his wife this month…” The New Orleans Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service responded swiftly and determined that the caller was TURNPAUGH who lived in the 1000 block of St. Mary Street, New Orleans, Louisiana.
After agents located the defendant, advised him of his rights, and played a recording of the 911 call, the defendant admitted that he was the person who made the call. Telephone records also revealed that TURNPAUGH had placed the call from his cell phone. Additional investigation determined that TURNPAUGH was selling marijuana and was illegally in possession of several firearms in furtherance of his drug trafficking activity.
TURNPAUGH faces a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment, as well as up to $750,000 fines, and five (5) years of supervised release. Sentencing has been scheduled for May 11, 2010 at 10:00 A.M.
Speaking to today’s conviction, U.S. Attorney Letten stated: Today, an armed and potentially dangerous individual who has threatened the President of the United States sits in federal prison awaiting the imposition of a mandatory jail sentence as a result of swift and decisive action by NOPD, Louisiana State Police, the U.S. Secret Service, ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The investigation was conducted by Special Agents of the U.S. Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the New Orleans Police Department and Louisiana State Police. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Maurice E. Landrieu, Jr. and Salvadore Perricone.
PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY OF JOHN TURNPAUGH;
Warren J. Riley
New Orleans Police Department
Public Affairs Division
715 South Broad Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70119
Telephone (504) 658-5858
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Orleans, LA, Today, the New Orleans Police Department is requesting the public's assistance in locating 41-year-old John Turnpaugh, wanted in connection with the attempted murder of 45-year-old Rodney Kirby. The offense occurred shortly before 12:00 a.m., September 17, 2003, in the 4300 block of Baudin Street.
According to investigators, the victim and suspect were involved in a verbal altercation which escalated when the suspect retrieved a machete and cut the victim across the neck. The victim is hospitalized and currently listed in stable condition.
A follow-up investigation by Third District Detective Lawrence Green identified the wanted suspect as the persons responsible for the offense.
John Turnpaugh, Wanted for: Attempted Murder
Wanted for: Attempted Murder
Bill Warner Director of CSPI..Covert Surveillance by Private Investigators at WBI Inc.