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Fugitive captured in Montana by U.S. Marshals, one of ATF’s ‘Most Wanted’

Posted at 2:42 PM, Jul 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-08 18:03:32-04

BILLINGS – On July 3, The U.S. Marshals in Montana arrested one of the ATF’s 15 most wanted fugitives by the ATF Kansas City Field Division on an outstanding warrant, out of the Northern District of Iowa for felon in possession of a firearm.

Michael Duane Strain, 62, a sovereign citizen who has a criminal history of obstruction, contempt of court, trespass, fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, possession of a short-barreled shotgun, and possession of explosive devices, was taken into custody around 6 p.m. without incident at a remote ranch approximately two hours from Billings.

ATF had contacted Marshals June 26, with information that Strain was possibly in the area.

“As soon as the information was received it was transferred to our team on the ground,” said U.S. Marshal for Montana Rod Ostermiller. “We were able to act on that information immediately and begin working to get this dangerous fugitive into custody. This is a great example of the close working relationship we have with the ATF.”

After the arrest, ATF was notified and put in touch with the ranch owner. They will conduct a search of the property.

Strain was transported to Big Horn County jail for his initial appearance and arraignment.

“This case is a perfect example of our outstanding partnership with the United States Marshals Service. We appreciate their commitment to removing dangerous fugitives such as Michael Strain from our communities, and we’ll continue to work together to protect the public,” said Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Kansas City Filed Division, Marino Vidoli.

ATF agents in the Northern District of Iowa indicted Strain Oct. 19, 2011, on charges of possession of a firearm as a felon and subsequently turned apprehension authority over to the USMS.

The last known address for Strain in October 2011 was in Elma, Iowa. Late 2011 through 2012 information was developed by the USMS placing Strain in southeast Minnesota, and in 2014, information was developed indicating Strain had likely moved west and was possibly in Wyoming or Utah, likely residing on a ranch.

In 2018 the USMS Northern District of Iowa distributed a press release in June highlighting the mobile TIPS app and highlighted Strain as a fugitive being sought by the Marshals