An Iowa man who dodged authorities for nearly eight years after his indictment on federal firearms charges was finally arrested last week on a remote ranch on a Montana Native American reservation.
Authorities say 62-year-old Michael Duane Strain had been evading the law since being indicted on two counts of possessing a firearm as a felon in 2011. During a search of his house that year, federal agents reported thousands of rounds of ammunition and numerous firearms.
Strain is a self-proclaimed sovereign citizen, a label used by people who claim that they do not have to answer to government authorities. When taken into custody, they had no jurisdiction over him, according to court documents.
U.S. Marshals Service deputies were led by the ranch on the Crow Reservation because of a telephone tip, Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Timothy Hornung said
Strain had lived there for years and was "basically squatting on the property," according to an affidavit from Stephen Feuerstein, and detectively assigned to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
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Strain was on the ATF's top 15 most wanted list, which takes into account the seriousness of the crime, applies criminal record and the potential of a dangerous menace to society "based on current or past charges, among other factors.
In addition to his previous indictment, Strain has a criminal history that includes obstruction, contempt of court, trespassing, fleeing a peace officer in a vehicle and possession of explosive devices, prosecutors say
Officials on Friday obtained a warrant to search Strain's residence, a storage building and his truck for illegal weapons.
On the same day, Strain made an initial court appearance in US District Court in Billings, where Magistrate Judge Timothy Cavan sent him to Iowa to face charges
Contributing: The Associated Press
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