Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin has joined 40 sheriffs in opposition to housing suspected terrorists in Colorado.
On Monday, the County Sheriffs of Colorado sent a letter to President Barack Obama demanding that no current inmate at Guantanamo Bay be transferred to Fremont County prisons.
“They shouldn’t be moved to Colorado,” Nowlin told The Journal on Wednesday. “We just don’t need that.”
Nowlin said Colorado prisons were already home to terrorists and drug kingpins, and additional such types of inmates would be a strain.
“We believe it would be dangerously naive not to recognize that a civilian prison with an untold number of enemy combatant inmates, located in our state, would provide a very tempting target for anyone wishing to either free these detainees or simply wishing to make a political statement,” the letter says.
A supermax prison in Florence houses Zacarias Moussaoui, a 9/11 conspirator; Faisal Shahzad, linked to the 2010 Times Square car-bombing attempt; and Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Calling the move too political, La Plata County Sheriff Sean Smith chose not to sign the letter.
“I’m focused on what’s going on with the citizens in our county,” Smith told The Durango Herald. “If I felt like it would create adverse risks for us, I would get involved.”
The Associated Press has reported that about 50 detainees in Cuba are eligible for transfer, but Congress would have to approve that decision, which appears unlikely.
“The Department of Defense has no authority to transfer these prisoners or make such modifications and they have made no case that it makes sense to do so,” Sen. Michael Bennet said in a statement.
“This is outrageous, and I’ll do everything I can to stop it,” U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman stated.
The Pentagon reportedly is considering sites in Kansas and South Carolina.
When running for president, Obama vowed to close the Cuba facility. Former President George W. Bush opened the facility after the 9/11 attacks.
On Tuesday, Colorado AP reporter Kristen Wyatt pointed out via Twitter that the sheriffs’ letter contained typos, including the misspelling of Fremont County, “Freemont.”
“More fun typos in the sheriffs’ letter,” Wyatt wrote in a subsequent Tweet. “Mr. President, we deplore you to reconsider your plans...”
The word “implore” substituted for “deplore” would have been grammatically correct.