Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, the 22-year-old Idaho man charged with attempting to assassinate President Barack Obama when he shot at the White House in November 2011, wanted to "punish" Obama for his administration's anti-marijuana policies.
Court documents filed Tuesday by prosecutors said Ortega-Hernandez "expressed anger towards the government regarding the continued criminalization of marijuana," The Associated Press reports.
Ortega-Hernandez told investigators that marijuana makes people smarter, according to the AP. A 2011 report by ABC News notes the suspect may suffer from mental illness and was arrested on domestic violence and drug charges before the shooting incident.
The motive for the shooting, prosecutors reportedly disclosed, "was to punish and kill the president, who he believed was the head of a government that was oppressing its citizens in various ways, such as by continuing to criminalize the use of marijuana."
Ortega-Hernandez allegedly shot at the White House on the night of Nov. 11, 2011 from a Honda Accord along Constitution Ave. Secret Service agents discovered the Honda, which had Idaho plates, abandoned near a bridge to Virginia when investigating the gunshots. The agents found a Romanian Cugir SA semi-automatic assault rifle and nine spent shell casings in the car. They also found brass knuckles, a baseball bat and a receipt indicating the items were purchased from an area Wal-Mart earlier in the day. Three loaded cartridge magazines were also found.
The president and first lady Michelle Obama were visiting Australia at the time of the shooting. The bullets were not discovered until Nov. 16, according to an FBI affidavit that supported the initial criminal complaint against Ortega-Hernandez. One bullet was lodged in a window's protective glass covering. Holes were also found in the building's walls. The suspect was arrested the same day in Pennsylvania.
The FBI affidavit said the suspect referred to Obama as "the anti-Christ" and "the devil," according to his friends.
At the time of the shooting federal law enforcement was catching headlines for raiding medical marijuana dispensaries that operated in accordance with state laws. Rolling Stone reported three months after the shooting that marijuana rights activists were enraged and disillusioned after the Obama administration conducted more than 100 raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in its first three years.
Obama - dubbed by Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Rob Kampia "the worst president on medical marijuana" in 2012 - has since seemingly softened his administration's approach to marijuana, saying his administration wouldn't target marijuana users in Colorado and Washington state, where the drug is now legal. "We've got bigger fish to fry," he said in December. The Justice Department has not announced any effort to prevent the two states from opening retail marijuana stores next year - although it's still possible that will happen.