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Press Release

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

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana

GREAT FALLS — 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.”

A criminal complaint is only an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon is prosecuting the case. The FBI conducted the investigation.

PACER case reference. 23-72.

The progress of cases may be monitored through the U.S. District Court Calendar and the PACER system. To establish a PACER account, which provides electronic access to review documents filed in a case, please visit To access the District Court’s calendar, please visit



Clair Johnson Howard

Public Affairs Officer



Updated August 14, 2023

Indian Country Law and Justice
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 23-314