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

Get the latest update on the case of a Great Falls man charged with threats to a federal officer and firearms crimes. Stay informed with the District of Montana and follow on Twitter for updates.

In a recent federal court appearance, a Great Falls man has been charged with making threats to a federal officer and illegal possession of firearms. Paul J. Valenzuela, 55, was arrested by law enforcement officers and now faces serious consequences if convicted, including up to 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. The government alleges that Valenzuela, a convicted felon, illegally possessed a firearm and sent threatening text messages to an FBI officer, stating, “Shoot at me I shoot back.” While a criminal complaint is only an accusation, Valenzuela will remain detained pending further proceedings. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon, and the FBI conducted the investigation.


The United States Attorney’s Office, District of Montana is responsible for prosecuting federal crimes within its jurisdiction. This office works towards ensuring justice and maintaining public safety in the state of Montana. One recent case that has garnered attention involves the charges against Paul J. Valenzuela.

Details of the Case

Paul J. Valenzuela, a Great Falls man, appeared in federal court on charges of making threats to a federal agent and illegal possession of firearms. He was arrested by law enforcement officers and subsequently appeared for an initial appearance on a criminal complaint. The complaint charges him with threats to a federal official and being a felon in possession of a firearm. If he is convicted of the most serious crime, Valenzuela can face a maximum of 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided over the initial appearance, and Valenzuela was detained pending further proceedings.

Investigation and Allegations

The government alleges that Valenzuela, who has previous felony convictions, illegally possessed a firearm. Additionally, on August 7th, Valenzuela made threats to an FBI officer via text messages. The text messages indicated that Valenzuela had access to firearms and threatened to shoot back if shot at. It is important to note that a criminal complaint is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Legal Proceedings

In the United States legal system, the presumption of innocence is a fundamental principle. This means that the defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty. In Valenzuela’s case, the prosecutor and judge in the case will play crucial roles in ensuring a fair trial. It is the responsibility of the prosecutor to present evidence and arguments against Valenzuela, while the judge will preside over the proceedings and ensure that the trial is conducted according to the law. The criminal complaint serves as the initial accusation against Valenzuela, and it is the starting point for further legal proceedings.


Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon is the prosecutor responsible for handling Valenzuela’s case. Weldon will be tasked with presenting the government’s evidence and arguments against Valenzuela. Additionally, the FBI played a significant role in the investigation of the case, gathering evidence and conducting interviews. The FBI’s involvement highlights the importance of federal law enforcement agencies in ensuring the safety and security of the public. Those interested in accessing the case reference can find it on PACER, the electronic access system for federal court documents.

Monitoring Case Progress

To stay informed about the progress of Valenzuela’s case, interested parties can access the U.S. District Court Calendar. This calendar provides information about upcoming court hearings and important dates related to the case. In order to access and review documents filed in the case, individuals need to establish a PACER account. PACER offers electronic access to case documents, allowing for convenient and timely updates about the proceedings.

Contact Information

For further information or inquiries about the case, individuals can contact Clair Johnson Howard, the Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office in Montana. Howard can be reached at 406-247-4623 or via email at Keeping in touch with the Public Affairs Officer is an effective way to stay updated on any developments or new information regarding the case.

Related Content

The District of Montana regularly releases press releases to keep the public informed about significant cases and developments within its jurisdiction. Interested individuals can find other press releases from the District of Montana to gain a broader understanding of the work being done by this office. Additionally, topics related to Valenzuela’s case, such as Indian Country Law and Justice and Firearms Offenses, may provide further context and insights into the legal aspects surrounding the charges against Valenzuela.

District of Montana

The main office for the United States Attorney’s Office, District of Montana, is located at 2601 2nd Ave N. Suite 3200, Billings, MT 59101. For inquiries or assistance, individuals can contact the office at (406) 657-6101 or toll-free at (800) 291-6108. The fax line for the office is (406) 657-6989.

Stay Connected

To stay connected with the District of Montana and receive updates about ongoing cases and other relevant information, individuals can follow the office on Twitter. This social media platform provides a convenient way to stay up to date with the latest news from the office and engage with the office’s content. The office also maintains archives and legal policies that can provide valuable information for those interested in learning more about its operations and policies.