A Kansas man accused of threatening President Joe Biden and multiple U.S. Secret Service agents is set to appear in a Baltimore federal courtroom on Wednesday, where a judge will decide whether he should be detained pending trial.
Prosecutors allege that Scott Ryan Merryman, a 37-year-old from Independence, Kansas, drove from his home to Maryland, and made multiple phone calls along the way to law enforcement informing them that he was going to "cut the head off the snake in the heart of the nation" and that God had told him to drive to Washington, D.C., to see the president.
Charging documents filed late last week said, "Merryman denied that the serpent was the President of the United States, but stated that he had information about the Book of Revelation that he was being instructed by God to give to the President."
Investigators say Merryman first contacted police on January 25, when he called local law enforcement in Kansas to tell them of his plans to drive to the nation's capital.
Secret Service agents ultimately located Merryman in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Hagerstown, Maryland, on January 26, court documents said.
There, according to an affidavit, agents searched Merryman. They found no weapons, but uncovered a loaded magazine in his possession and a spotting scope in his backpack.
He allegedly told them "he had to deliver a message to President Biden, and advise him that people were fed up with the divisiveness in the country and to turn back to God (or go to hell)," the documents say. Merryman is also accused of threatening the Secret Service agents later that day over the phone.
Finally, on January 27, Merryman allegedly called the White House switchboard and made similar threats. When questioned by the Secret Service, Merryman is accused of responding with this threat: "I'm coming for his bitch ass sleepy Joe. I'm talking about President Biden and you can quote me…"I'm coming with three bullets no guns. I am now coming by myself," later adding, "You got two minutes, and then I'm coming…That's it! You're dead!"
Merryman faces two federal counts that carry maximum sentences of five years in prison for making threats against the president and of five years for interstate communication containing threats to harm. His attorney did not immediately reply to CBS News' request for comment.
This arrest comes weeks after officers in Cass County, Iowa, arrested another man driving cross-country to the White House on a mission to "do whatever it takes" to kill top officials, including Mr. Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Kuachua Brillion Xiong, 25, of California, made it as far as Iowa before authorities discovered an AR-15-style rifle, ammunition, loaded magazines, and body armor in his car, according to a complaint.
Court documents say Xiong worked at a California grocery store and told investigators that his employment there was a "cover" until called upon by God to "combat evil demons in the White House."
"Xiong told investigators that he departed his home near Sacramento around December 18 with the intention of driving straight to the White House in Washington, D.C., to kill persons in power," including President Biden, and former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, the documents allege.
While in custody, investigators say the defendant said "he would immediately resume traveling to the White House in Washington, D.C., and do whatever it takes to complete his plan" if released.
Xiong's attorney had no comment when contacted by CBS News.
His case has currently been put on hold before a court-ordered evaluation, to determine whether he is mentally fit to stand trial, is conducted.
As the threat of domestic violent extremism and threats like these intensifies, the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and the National Counterterrorism Center have published a guide to help the public spot "ideologically motivated U.S.-based violent extremists."
The 34-page report, released Friday, is the first of its kind to be published after the U.S. Capitol assault on January 6, 2021. The "see something, say something"-style public service announcement comes at a time when federal law enforcement has pumped out warnings of unsophisticated — but potentially lethal — attacks by lone actors who leave a sparse paper trail.
Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security is expected to renew its National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin, set to expire next week. The bulletin, last issued in November, is designed to illustrate current developments or trends about terrorism threats. It's not to be confused with an elevated alert, which warns of a credible terrorism threat, or an imminent alert, which warns of a credible, specific and impending terror threat.
The most recent NTAS Bulletin warned that ideologically-motivated domestic extremists "continue to derive inspiration from and obtain operational guidance, including regarding the use of improvised explosive devices and small arms, through the consumption of information shared in online forums."
Threats against lawmakers and elected officials have come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks.
A Texas man was arrested earlier this month and indicted on charges that he posted threatening, election-related communications against Georgia government officials, according to court records and the Justice Department.
Chad Christopher Stark, 54, of Leander, Texas, is accused of using the online forum Craigslist to target multiple government officials, including Republican Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Another man, Gjergi Luke Juncaj of Nevada, was arrested last week. He's alleged to have made multiple threatening phone calls to an election worker in the Nevada secretary of state's office.
The arrests of both men were the results of the Justice Department's Election Threats Task Force, commissioned by Attorney General Merrick Garland and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco to confront threats against election workers following the contentious 2020 presidential election.
Stark is scheduled to be arraigned in a federal court on Friday. Juncaj has pleaded not guilty.