GREAT FALLS — The man who was arrested by the FBI in Great Falls early on Monday, August 14, 2023, has been identified as Paul J. Valenzuela.
There were officers from several agencies involved in executing the search warrant just after midnight, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pondera County Sheriff’s Office.
An officer with a bullhorn announced several times that the FBI was executing the warrant, and ordered Valenzuela to come out of the house.
At least one flash-bang was used, and officers with an FBI SWAT team eventually broke down the door of the house.
During his initial appearance in federal court in Great Falls on Monday, Valenzuela faced a criminal complaint charging him with threats to a federal official and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Court documents allege that Valenzuela, who has felony convictions, illegally possessed a firearm, and that on August 7, he made threats to an FBI officer in text messages in which he refers to having access to firearms and stated, “Shoot at me, I shoot back.”
Court documents also note that Valenzuela was questioned back in December 2021 regarding the disappearance of Ashley Loring Heavy Runner.
He denied having any specific knowledge regarding her whereabouts.
Heavyrunner disappeared from the Blackfeet Reservation in 2017; click here for more information.
Valenzuela, 55 years old, remains in custody pending further proceedings.
We will update you when we get more information.