WASHINGTON – The tobacco farmer dubbed "Tractor Man" (search) was sentenced Wednesday to six years in prison in connection with the incident that brought traffic in the nation's capital to a standstill.
Dwight Ware Watson (search), 51, of Whitakers, N.C., was handed the prison time for his conviction on charges of making a false threat to detonate explosives, and destruction of federal property.
On March 17, 2003, Watson drove his tractor into a shallow pond at Constitution Gardens (search), just west of the Department of Homeland Security — which elevated the terror threat level to orange three days before the start of the U.S. led assault on Iraq.
During a February hearing, Watson apologized for the incident. He also recounted a jailhouse conversation he had with a federal probation officer after his conviction.
"I told her I was here to start a revolution on behalf of tobacco farming families," said Watson, who contends that changes in U.S. tobacco policy over the past two decades ruined him financially.
For more than a century, Watson's family grew tobacco on 1,500 acres of North Carolina farmland. By the time of his arrest, Watson was farming just a few dozen acres threatened with foreclosure.