A Houston man is accused of threatening to burn U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and
his father unless the senator paid him $3 million, according to the Harris
County District Attorney's Office.
Nick K. Gates, 37, has been charged with making a terroristic threat, a third-degree felony, court records show. He was being held Tuesday at the Harris County Jail under a $10,000 bail.
An intern at Cruz's Austin office told investigators that a man called the office on June 5, saying that Cruz "owed him money or a bomb would explode," according to an arrest warrant filed in the case. The man, who identified himself as Abolfazi Akbori, called again the same day after the office had closed and left a threatening message on the office's voicemail system.
Another phone message was left at Cruz's San Antonio office containing threats that the caller "would kidnap, murder, and burn Ted Cruz and his father," the arrest warrant states.
The message states, "Ted has a choice. Give me three million dollars or lose the sun." The caller said that "due to government misconduct the sun would blow up and said he might be able to prevent the sun from blowing up if he receives three million dollars," according to the arrest warrant.
It didn't take long for investigators to track down Gates, who allegedly made the threatening calls from his home telephone.
In a June 10 interview at his Houston apartment with an agent with the Federal Protective Services, Gates admitted to making the phone calls, prosecutors said. He told investigators that he previously spent 12 days in the Harris County Mental Health Center.
Asked if he had any firearms, Gates responded, "Aren't Texans allowed to possess firearms?" the arrest warrant states.
Gates has a prior felony conviction for attempted retaliation, where he threatened the life of a Houston police officer and his child after the officer arrested him for driving while intoxicated, according to the arrest warrant. He also was convicted on the DWI charge.
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