Great Falls man charged with threats to federal officer, firearms crimes

A Great Falls man appeared in federal court today on charges of making threats to a federal agent and illegal possession of firearms after law enforcement officers arrested him earlier in the day, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Paul J. Valenzuela, 55, appeared for an initial appearance on a criminal complaint charging him with threats to a federal official and felon in possession of a firearm. If convicted of the most serious crime, Valenzuela faces a maximum of 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. Valenzuela was detained pending further proceedings.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided.

The government alleged in court documents that Valenzuela, who has felony convictions, illegally possessed a firearm, and that on Aug. 7, he made threats to an FBI officer in text messages in which he which he refers to having access to firearms and stated, “Shoot at me I shoot back.”

Read more: Department of Justice