Man arrested in Great Falls over federal firearms, threat charges

The FBI arrested a man in Great Falls on Monday following accusations he threatened a federal agent and illegally possessed firearms.

Paul J. Valenzuela, 55, appeared in Great Falls federal court after a complaint was filed charging him with threats to a federal official and felon in possession of a firearm. He hasn’t entered a plea to the charges yet.

Federal court documents allege federal agents tracked Valenzuela for roughly four years after they got a tip in 2019 from local officials that he had multiple firearms and was possibly trafficking methamphetamine around Blackfeet land.

An FBI report showed Valenzuela had six felony convictions in Washington state between 1986 and 2017, according to the case complaint. He was also convicted of misdemeanor assault and domestic violence.

On Aug. 7 of this year, an investigating agent got a long text message from Valenzuela, included in court documents, part of which allegedly said, “Shoot at me I shoot back,” and implied he had access to guns. 

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