Law Enforcement Mum on Montana Gun Confiscation Story

Editors Note: If any of our smart informed readers have more information, video, or direct knowledge of this event please use the AmmoLand News tip line to alert our editors.

Were the feds involved in a massive SWAT operation to confiscate guns in Montana from a falsely accused man? For reasons of their own, law enforcement isn’t talking. (Photo: ATF)

U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- “Feds Confiscate Guns in Flathead Valley With 30 Vehicles, Three Tanks, and Helicopter, the Montana Daily Gazette reports.  “Heretofore ignored by the legacy press and mainstream media, in February, federal authorities invaded a neighborhood in the Flathead Valley with militarized police and terrorized its occupants with what appears to be Waco-level tyrannical overreach.”

That’s certainly a newsworthy claim. And ensuing allegations of armored vehicles, over 100 agents, officers breaching the residence with a concussion grenade after the suspect had reportedly surrendered peacefully, and an operation prompted by the accusations of a “former girlfriend” that he was dangerous, all have the makings of a major story. Why wouldn’t this be all over the news?

Unfortunately, while long on descriptions of what is being alleged to have happened, the story is short on details by which others can follow up and validate. That has led some readers to speculate why there are no verifying links to arrest records and court filings.

We’re not told the name of the suspect reportedly taken into custody, nor even which federal agencies were involved. What we have instead is an “Editor’s Note”:

[The Montana Daily Gazette stands by the veracity of this report from a field reporter and we believe the Legacy Press has been intimidated into silence by the federal government. Names have been changed to protect the innocent]

We are, however, reminded:

“According to the Constitution, federal operators may not engage in law enforcement activities without the permission of the local county sheriff, something that is often overlooked and ignored, which is the case here.”

We’re also told the suspect “was eventually transported to the Flathead County jail [and] was released three days later on his own recognizance.”

The Sheriff’s Office was the first place to start, and hoping for a written public reply, I asked them to make a statement via Twitter:

“Since your department is named in this report, and since the assessment of its accuracy is of significant public interest, will you please issue a statement of your involvement and the facts as you understand them?”

That was met with several days of silence, so I followed it up with a phone call to the department. I was informed that an email had been circulated internally instructing personnel to refer all inquiries to “the U.S. County Attorney.” The person I spoke with also let slip that the story had “inaccuracies.”

That at least meant they were aware of the story and that something happened.

Since there is a County Attorney and a U.S. Attorney, I contacted the feds next, starting with the Missoula Field Office since it is geographically the closest one. I was informed the public information officer works out of the Billings office, so I called there and had to leave a voicemail message. Shortly thereafter, I received a callback and asked the officer if they had prepared a public statement. She informed me that, per Department of Justice policy, she could neither confirm nor deny anything responsive to my questions about ongoing investigations.

That at least suggests there is an investigation and that it’s ongoing, but confirms nothing.

I also left a voicemail with the County Attorney. As of this writing, I have not heard back but will update this post if I do.

Seemingly related is a story that did make the news, but one that paints a very different picture. From the Flathead Beacon:

“A 52-year-old Hungry Horse man was arrested with drugs and more than two-dozen stolen firearms on Wednesday … SWAT teams from Kalispell and Flathead County were mobilized.”

Is this what we’re talking about? If so, which account is true? Are we talking about a victim or a villain?

Or is that an unrelated story? By the government withholding information, all people can do is speculate.

CORRECTION: The above paragraphs have been struck out because they are irrelevant to this story. While both raids occurred in early February, the Hungry Horse report is from a year earlier. I regret the error.

In today’s highly charged environment, with justifiable fears of gun confiscations, “red flag laws,” and the like being enforced against gun owners who have committed no crimes, it should be in the interests of all parties to be transparent with charges and counterclaims. That much can be done without jeopardizing cases. Instead, a climate of fear is made inevitable by remaining closed-lipped, and that only makes everything more dangerous for everyone.


UPDATE 03/29/2021: I spoke Monday with the Flathead County Attorney’s Office and was advised they first learned of the raid at a March 19 2021 meeting attended by a representative of Senator Steve Daines’ office, who had learned of it from the Montana Daily Gazette article.  This was a federal operation and the County Attorney’s Office was not apprised of it in advance. Information shared at that meeting was that the suspect had around 15 warrants for his arrest, and the scale of force used was not nearly as significant as had been reported.


About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

David Codrea

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SweetOlBob
SweetOlBob
6 months ago

From the description of the forces involved, it does sound a little embellished. But then it’s supposed to be the Feds, and any amount of embellishment may be true.
It also sounds like the “former” girlfriend may have found a new friend in a branch of law enforcement. Stranger things have happened !

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
6 months ago

Thanks for the update David.

I hope a Pro 2nd Amendment organization or politician does a FOIA request on the warrants to see if they were related to technical violations of the NFA of 1934 or something else.

Comrade X
Comrade X
6 months ago

Thanks David.

Stag
Stag
6 months ago

So more armed robbery, aggravated kidnapping, and violation of rights by government thugs.

Gofer
Gofer
6 months ago

Our newest sheriff is way different than prior Sheriffs, who swore to uphold the 2nd Amendment and all of our gun rights. And, you’re correct… nothing was in the news about it, in newspapers or on TV. People here ( Native born citizens ) won’t put up with this behavior for very long at all! It’s no wonder there was nothing in the news about this. I do hope that in the future, this doesn’t happen again. I’d hate for our people to have to be afraid of our own LEOs or federal agents. There’s simply no excuse for this… Read more »

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
6 months ago
Reply to  Gofer

Every single sheriff (as well as all police chiefs and highway patrol) in the state to your south sided with Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety when it came to their desire to cooperate with federal LEOs:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6O5evcYLe4&ab_channel=WyomingLegislature

SweetOlBob
SweetOlBob
6 months ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

“Moms “: A respected name taken by a bunch of old, frigid, Nervous Nellie, democRAT tools who are trying to further the disarming of the American public.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
6 months ago
Reply to  SweetOlBob

“Shrewes” and “harpies” really belong in any description of the the people in that group. They are committed though – they always show up.

“I’m a proponent of the 2nd Amendment, and I have a gun, but . . . “

hoss
hoss
6 months ago

Nov.3,2020, the day America died!

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
6 months ago

David Codrea, Thanks for the article. I realize you haven’t been able to obtain any direct information yet. Regarding what has been reported by others, I doubt there were any tanks there (no Abrams, no Pattons, no Sheridans, etc.). I don’t believe a word any federal LEO says about the matter. I’m skeptical about anything any state and local LEO says about the matter. It’s not surprising the local sheriff’s department is refusing to shed any light on what happened. When federal authorities conduct enforcement actions with respect to upcoming new federal laws, I expect that to be the norm… Read more »

Loid
Loid
6 months ago

Please explain the statement:
“According to the Constitution, federal operators may not engage in law enforcement activities without the permission of the local county sheriff, something that is often overlooked and ignored, which is the case here.”
Where is this stated in the US Constitution? I’ve read the US Constitution and there is no mention of counties or sheriffs. Can you please explain?

Mack
Mack
6 months ago
Reply to  Loid

Without a ‘Federal Nexus’ there is no jurisdiction.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
6 months ago
Reply to  Mack

I don’t know what is truly legal, but I don’t believe federal LEOs believe they need to ask. If they notify, they do it as a courtesy or because they want cooperation from local LEOs (which they will get).

Chris Mallory
Chris Mallory
6 months ago
Reply to  Loid

I never have been able to get a person making this claim to give me the article, section, and clause that mentions “the local sheriff”. We can argue over Federal action being unconstitutional, but no where does the Constitution mention local law enforcement in any manner, shape or form.

Personally, I consider any Federal criminal enforcement other than the UCMJ, piracy, treason, and counterfeiting to be unconstitutional since those are the only three crimes the Constitution gives the Feds authority over and the Congress is given permission to regulate the armed forces.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
6 months ago
Reply to  David Codrea

It’s a popular quip in rural communities: “only the coroner can arrest the sheriff.”

The reality is, sheriffs in rural communities will immediately bow to federal authorities.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
6 months ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Will – 3/29/21>
 
“The reality is that is just your opinion!”

Response to Will:

No, it’s not:

Your faith in government employees is as unwarranted as it is disturbing.

You actually had a LEO come on this site and tell you your faith in LEOs was not based on reality. Yet you still persist.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
6 months ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Posted a reply with video evidence. On hold due to youtube video.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
6 months ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

While we’re waiting, the Texas sheriffs will bow down just like last time.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
6 months ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Will – 3/29/21   “That’s ridiculous and there can’t be any evidence. Why would rural hick sheriffs (according to you) bow down to a subordinate LE agency with no jurisdiction? YouTube won’t and can’t provide any evidence either!” Response to Will: You are calling them hicks, not me. I like life in rural America. There is plenty of historical evidence – especially for Idaho and Texas. You know that without me posting a video. The video I posted shows Wyoming sheriffs, police chiefs, and Highway Patrol all siding with Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety in their desire… Read more »

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
6 months ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Will – 3/29/21:
 
“Texas,like a whole other country!”

Response to Will:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waco_siege

Last edited 6 months ago by JSNMGC
JSNMGC
JSNMGC
6 months ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

The video is not about Waco. I described what the video pertains to above – it’s about all Wyoming sheriffs, all Wyoming police chiefs, and Wyoming Highway Patrol. The post with the video is still on hold.

I indicated above that Idaho (Ruby Ridge) and Texas (Waco) opened the doors to federal LEOs.

Texas is no different from Wyoming today – they will bow down to and cooperate with federal LEOs (again) when the time comes.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
6 months ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Texas sheriffs are so petrified of the specter of working in the private sector, they will watch the feds burn your house down in order to keep their jobs.

When the feds pose for pictures in the ashes of your home, the sheriffs will take the pictures for them.

Ram
Ram
6 months ago
Reply to  Loid

I believe the statement you’re questioning, is referring to
“Posse Comitatus”, which would be in the federal charter.

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
6 months ago

It’s important for this to be known. If you turn someone in for revenge that you are going to be paying the bill. Maybe this might inhibit some from be so vengeful. In addition I think that if the person was so dangerous, seeing all that armament and officers he would not have given up peacefully.

Can you imagine the police having a tank? Crazy!!!!

Gofer
Gofer
6 months ago
Reply to  musicman44mag

Our Sheriff Dept. has at least one armored vehicle, that they use quite frequently. But, it’s far from being a tank and is not armed in any way.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
6 months ago
Reply to  Gofer

In the event being written about, I bet LE used BearCats or something similar. People like to say “tank.”

mlhtd51
mlhtd51
6 months ago

When those in Government Break the Law,……..There is No More Law, Just a Fight For Survival.

CourageousLion
CourageousLion
6 months ago
Reply to  mlhtd51

I heard that back in 1972 from the lips of Tom Laughlin.

Heed the Call-up
Heed the Call-up
6 months ago

The story on the Hungry Horse man states he was arrested about 4pm, the above story states the event occurred early morning. So those two events appear to be different. What is troubling is that this story is not even in the local or state news media, and other than the original source, it appears nowhere, except being disseminated on gun sites and “right-wing” sites. That, to me, strongly suggests that this story is false.

uncle dudley
uncle dudley
6 months ago

The American people still have not heard the name of the law enforcement person who shot and killed the woman at the Jan.6th debacle in D.C. If the person in this raid was not a white skinned person we would have heard if the story was real or not, just like if the woman in D.C. was other than white we would know the name of the shooter. I don’t mean to sound racist with my comments, it’s just a fact the news media would have been all over the story and would have found out names and this would… Read more »

Hazcat
Hazcat
6 months ago

“What did you do and Why did you do it” are not questions to be sidelined by the over used excuse of “it’s under investigation”.

nrringlee
nrringlee
6 months ago

Bottom line: When government is no longer of, by and for the People folks will mistrust and then speculate. When those conditions exist it is not unreasonable for folks to assume the worst. The counter to that is for government agencies to come forth with clear, verifiable information to clarify the purpose and manner of the investigation. Lacking that folks have every right to assume the worst.

Finnky
Finnky
6 months ago
Reply to  nrringlee

Wait – wasn’t this administration going to be the most transparent in history? Surely biden’s press secretary will spill all today.

Oh wait – she’ll have to circle-back on this.

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
6 months ago
Reply to  Finnky

You know, when I heard those words I thought, Obummer. Now I see and feel that this is worse than Obummer III. They have already proven multiple times that they are hiding the truth and not being open and honest. Yesterday his answer was, let me take care of all the stuff on the boarder and straighten out the buildings we want you to check out and then we will let you see them. Not, send all the reporters where ever you want. Let them check it out and report. Demonrats claimed constantly that President Trump was a liar and… Read more »

Bozz
Bozz
6 months ago

“Former girl friend said he was dangerous”. This is what we can expect from red flag laws.

JoeUSooner
JoeUSooner
6 months ago
Reply to  Bozz

Exactly!! Those “red flag” laws are highly subject to easy abuse… and those laws are carefully written in a way that specifically prevents any such abuse from carrying/applying consequences to any abuser. The deck is stacked…

USMC0351Grunt
USMC0351Grunt
6 months ago
Reply to  Bozz

Men have been getting THIS treatment of false allegations ever since the early 70’s with the birth of the feminist movement, Women’s “crisis” centers and such where the women working these centers needed “clients” so they would encourage women to make false allegations against their husbands or boyfriends in order to create a Case and Client status in order to get local, state and federal funding and support. In the same note, these, “crisis” centers also acted as Friends of The Court in destroying the Father / Child relationships, thereby destroying the family units further and giving us the dumbed-down… Read more »

Mack
Mack
6 months ago
Reply to  Bozz

Easy to accuse – difficult to prove.

Even easier to lie.

Really easy to be killed by all this.

Tionico
Tionico
6 months ago
Reply to  Bozz

Hold on here.. there are not (yet) any Federal level Red Flag laws. Thus Feds would ave NO jurisdiction to initiate “contact”. Not sure if Montana have them but if they do it would be an action of the local Sheriff, which we do not have. So it ain’t aobut “red flag laws”. My guess is erstwhile Sweetums became aware of some items he had that she thought were federal gun/drug law issues and squealed.

But maybe the whole bit about ex-sweetums is a concoction, Its not as if Uncle Stupid has never done that before………

Neanderthal75
Neanderthal75
6 months ago
Reply to  Tionico

You know historically, rats have been known to disappear.

Choogie
Choogie
6 months ago

Ronnie made a statement AND Someone marked it down as in they disagree. What I would like to know is WHY? It seems pretty apparent to me that the government is ROGUE. They stole the election and have undone almost everything that Donald Trump put in place to make this a Great Nation and are now coming for our guns which is only one thing that they have made transparent other than acting/being like a total communist movement on our country. They have Built a Wall around Washington with a Razor Cut Barbed Wire FENCE on top and have the… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Choogie
Bozz
Bozz
6 months ago
Reply to  Choogie

I’m not seeing a thumbs down on Ronnie’s statement.

Choogie
Choogie
6 months ago
Reply to  Bozz
  • Bozz, That’s because a negative vote is cancelled out with a positive one. 1+ MINUS 1- Equals 0
Montana454Casull
Montana454Casull
6 months ago

Drugs and stolen guns will mostly likely bring the feds to a person’s doorstep . If that was why this person was raided then he brought it on himself . Cases that are under investigation ussually don’t get much information released to the public or media. Federal overreach is common today but if crimes were committed by the person arrested then they were doing thier job . Time will tell how all this plays out and then information may be released.

gregs
gregs
6 months ago

usually the feds are happy to provide a press release to boost their image, which has been severely tarnished for a number of years.
for any l.e. agency/prosecutors office to not release at least an acknowledgement that a raid has happened or someone has been arrested and firearms confiscated is telling.
i do not trust anyone from federal, state or local government. their number one goal is to accumulate power and wield it over everyone else. that used to not be the case, but times have changed, people don’t.

Finnky
Finnky
6 months ago
Reply to  gregs

Particularly if they want to justify using tanks, helicopter and the massive manpower described in the article. If they were after one man who was not actively threatening someone – a few agents could have ambushed him if he ever went out in public. I suspect they acted with speed using massive force to prevent anything similar to the Bundy incident. They expected that if they engaged in a siege – they could have been facing massed militia. With increasing discord within the country, wouldn’t have taken much for said siege to become violent. That would certainly have been a… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Finnky
Mack
Mack
6 months ago
Reply to  Finnky

You know,

It would really help if the Feds knew they are not the Military.

Perhaps Congress should compel all Feds to follow Sir Robert Peel’s Peel’s Principles of Law Enforcement – 1829.

As in #1:

“The basic mission for which police exist is to prevent crime and disorder as an alternative to the repression of crime and disorder by military force and severity of legal punishment.”

nrringlee
nrringlee
6 months ago

Booking reports are public documents. They must contain original charges, dates, places and arresting agency identification. The only time that may not be the case is under the (non)Patriot Act and Defense Authorization Acts that create a de facto suspension o f habeas corpus. Both of those instruments are key in the War on Everything. That is why they can be used in domestic criminal cases. So question number one is this: where is the alleged perpetrator and who is representing him? That should be interview number one.

swmft
swmft
6 months ago
Reply to  nrringlee

betting that nothing of what the girl claimed was found, the guy was released so fast if he had one stolen gun even with a receipt he would still be in jail. bet this was a slap from a jilted girlfriend and the feds are now looking for damage control …can you imagine fox news FEDERAL POLICE BUST INTO HOME WITH TANKS AND 1,000 HEAVILY ARMED TROOPS the government is out of control from waco to ruby ridge and more time to fire LOTS of people no judge signed off on it hell no anyone who would violate that oath… Read more »

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
6 months ago
Reply to  swmft

Did you make a mistake or do you like adding zero’s? 🙂

swmft
swmft
6 months ago
Reply to  musicman44mag

it was a bit of sarcasm, but there was around 100 for one person ,waco was in the 240 range still government out of control ,that is why they stopped production of civilian defense guns in 86 with select fire 1 can defend from an army

Not A. Potato
Not A. Potato
6 months ago

I wonder how many crimes are conveniently “discovered” after one of these raids goes wrong.

Ronnie
Ronnie
6 months ago

This Government Has Turned into a ROGUE – GOV.! We Have to Stop it Soon! If The EVIL DOERS’ Have Control of OUR HIGHEST COURT JUDGES ! We All Will See ” OUR BILL OF RIGHTS ” be DESTROYED ! And Soon!

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
6 months ago
Reply to  Ronnie

IMO it’s already gone, the election and non action with the proof provided is good enough for me to feel and see/witness that the government is corrupt, dems have the advantage because of careful and smart placement and they fear no repercussion. Hitlary, Holder and Homey are perfect examples of how dems can break the law and cover for each other as well as protect each other and nothing happens. Unbridled power corrupts.

Chris Mallory
Chris Mallory
6 months ago
Reply to  Ronnie

The Feds went rogue back in 1861 under the tyrant Lincoln. Random capitalization makes you look like a nutcase.