The Bundy supporter arrested for possessing a stolen .50-cal machine gun had planned to take the weapon to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to join armed anti-government activists during their standoff with the feds earlier this year.
An informant told authorities that Michael Emry, 54, had planned to take the Browning M2 to the refuge but “he couldn’t because of the law enforcement presence,” said Nathan Lichvarcik, an assistant U.S. attorney in Portland, during a hearing last week, The Oregonian reported.
Lichvarcik added that the informant said Emry spoke of having a large arsenal of weapons and access to grenades. He also talked of “shooting police officers and how a .50 cal would penetrate the side of a police car and a Kevlar vest.”
Emry’s attorney questioned the credibility of the informant and asked for temporary release so Emry could tend to family business before “the possibility of a significant consequence” related to the weapons charges, but the motion was denied.
The judge ordered that Emry, who faces four years in prison if convicted, to remain in custody because of concerns over the safety of the community.
On May 23, seven letters written behalf of Emry were filed in the case. In one letter, he’s described as an honorable man and credited as “one of the key Whistleblowers in the Iran Contra Affair during the Reagan era.” Another calls him a “kind man and very much the peacemaker.”
Federal agents arrested Emry on May 6 for federal weapons charges after a raid of his camper trailer, which served as his home in Grant County, that turned up the machine gun.
Emry originally claimed he was going to sell the “Ma Deuce,” which he admitted to stealing from a gun shop in Boise, Idaho, where he had been employed. He also admitted to scratching out the gun’s serial numbers before arriving in Oregon.
Authorities said the weapon is capable of firing some 550 to 650 rounds per minute and described it as “capable of killing a person from over a mile away, taking out the engine block of a vehicle, shooting through a brick wall.”
In 2004, Emry escaped prosecution of explosives and illegal weapons charges by testifying against a drug dealer in a Tennessee federal court trial, The Oregonian reported.
In previous reports, Emry said he had traveled to Burns, Oregon, to cover the conflict for his alternative news website The Voice of Idaho. For the site, he made a number media appearances to discuss the standoff and advocate for the armed ranchers’ causes.
According to his website, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s dramatic 2014 standoff with the feds inspired him to report on events “unreported by the media.”
The 41-day standoff ended early February, just days after key figures involved were arrested at roadblock, which resulted in one man killed.
Daniel Terrill contributed to the reporting of this article