Man accused of threatening to kill U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, father

Authorities say he wanted $3 million or he would kidnap, murder and burn them

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HOUSTON - A Houston man is accused of threatening to kidnap, murder and burn U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and his father.

Federal authorities say Nick Gates, who also goes by the name Abolfanzi Akbori, faces a felony charge for making a terroristic threat.

Court documents state Gates left two threatening messages on the voicemails of Sen. Cruz's San Antonio and Austin offices on June 5.

A senior staff member for the senator told authorities that Gates called Cruz's San Antonio office during business hours on June 5. Gates spoke with an intern and allegedly told him that "Sen. Cruz owed him money or a bomb would explode."

Cruz's staff told authorities that Gates phoned again later that day after the office had closed and left a voicemail that he would "kidnap, murder and burn Ted Cruz and his father."

According to court documents, FBI agents responded to the senator's Austin office after a voicemail message was left that same afternoon around 2:50 p.m. Officials said the caller ID identified the caller as Abolfazi Akbori.

Investigators say they were able to link the calls that were made to both the San Antonio and Austin offices to Gates' phone number.

Cruz's Houston office was scanned by a Department of Homeland Security explosive K-9 detection team on June 7 after the two voicemails were discovered.  

Upon further investigation, FBI agents in Austin learned that agents in Houston were investigating Gates for "threatening the life of a Houston based FBI agent."

Authorities also learned that Federal Protective Services Houston had an open case on Gates for "sending inappropriate emails and making inappropriate phone calls" to the U.S. Citizens and Immigration Services case worker who handled his immigration case.

FBI agents interviewed Gates at his Houston apartment on June 10. The FBI says Gates told them that he had spent 12 days in the Harris County Mental Health Center.

Court documents state when asked if he was in possession of a firearm, Gates said, "Aren't Texans allowed to possess firearms?"

According to court documents, the FBI agents played Gates the voicemail that was left at Cruz''s San Antonio office. Gates told investigators that "it was his voice from the call he made to the senator's office."

Gates said, "Ted has a choice, give me $3 million or lose the sun."

Gates told authorities "due to government misconduct, the sun would blow up" and he might be able to prevent that from happening if he was given the money., according to court documents.

Investigators say Gates admitted to making the phone call from his apartment.

Court documents state Gates had a previous felony conviction for attempted retaliation after he threatened a Houston police officer that arrested him for drunk driving.  

Officials said all of Sen. Cruz's Texas offices, as well as his office in Washington, D.C., were made aware of Gates' history and were given his photograph.

Phil Archer will have more on this developing story coming up on Local 2 News at 5.

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