SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – A Utah man who police say threatened to assassinate Gov. Gary Herbert and who conducted surveillance on the governor’s mansion is facing multiple felony charges.
Brian Biff Baker was charged Friday in Salt Lake City’s 3rd District Court with felony counts of drug and weapons possession, along with a misdemeanor count of threatening elected officials.
Baker sent text messages to a friend on Feb. 2 stating that he was lying in the bushes and intended to kill the governor, court records said. The recipient of the texts reported the messages to police and Baker was arrested the same day, the records said.
In his messages, the 52-year-old Baker said he had been casing the place and that authorities would utter an expletive “when the explosions start … should be funny as hell, it’s a dangerous mission,” a police affidavit filed in support of the charges states.
The texts also included a threat to kill a police officer who had driven past the mansion more than once during Baker’s period of surveillance the affidavit states.
Police also said that Herbert was at home during the time Baker was conducting surveillance and was removed from the premises for safety reasons.
Investigators enlisted the help of the message recipient to get Baker to come to a nearby gas station, where he was arrested. Police found containers of ammunition, a large knife, explosives, illegal fireworks and small plastic bags of methamphetamine in Baker’s truck, court papers said.
Security camera video from the area around the mansion also showed Baker conducting his surveillance, the papers stated.
Baker was being held in the Salt Lake County jail. Bail is set at $25,007. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he had an attorney.
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