An antigovernment militia activist, who describes himself as a self-taught bomb maker and the “Picasso of machine guns,” has been arrested in Oregon on federal firearms charges.
Michael Ray Emry, who identified himself as an “embedded reporter” during the 41-day militia takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, faces federal charges of possession of a machine gun and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.
He was arrested last Friday in John Day, Ore., where he moved following the end of the occupation of the wildlife sanctuary by Ammon Bundy and other antigovernment activists and militia members.
Emry, a car transmission repairman who previously lived in Idaho, Tennessee and Kansas, was not among the 27 defendants indicted on conspiracy and related charges for their roles in the illegal take-over.
Federal court documents don’t disclose what led federal agents to conduct a search of a trailer, truck and car belonging to Emry in a county-owned RV park in Grant County, Ore. During the search, agents found a fully automatic .50 caliber “Ma Deuce” machine gun (Browning M2) under the bed in the trailer,” and its serial number had been obliterated, the documents say.
Fully automatic .50 caliber “Ma Deuce” (Browning M2) machine gun seized by FBI agents. (Court file photo)
After being advised of his rights, Emry “admitted that the firearm was a fully functional automatic weapon [and] that it could fire at the rate of between 550 and 650 rounds per minute,” the documents say.
Emry admitted that he destroyed the serial number after stealing the machine gun from a business in Boise, Idaho, owned by James Weaver, where he worked until earlier this year, the documents say.
Emry, 54, moved to John Day, in Grant County, Ore., to “start up a media venture with pro-militia leanings,” the Oregonian reported in weekend editions.
In Grant County, where the current sheriff is a member of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), Emry was involved with an antigovernment citizens group that is forming a committee to push those views, the newspaper reported.
Emry’s antigovernment activism goes back 17 years when he admitted making 66 illegal machine guns for a man in Kansas. He also made a deadly plastic explosive bomb for a man who hired him to repair car transmissions, a federal court trial transcript reveals.
Emry wasn’t prosecuted for those crimes after he testified for the federal government in a 2004 case brought in Tennessee against a cocaine dealer who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
“He also testified that he acted undercover for the ATF ‘on certain particular cases’ but didn’t describe the time frame or the cases,” the Portland newspaper reported.
In a jail interview last week, Emry told the newspaper that “he was known as the ‘Picasso of machine guns’ and was a self-taught bomb maker” whose regular job was repairing car transmissions.
During his 2004 trial testimony, Emry expressed the view that citizens need to be armed in light of government standoffs such as those in 1993 at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, and the year earlier at Ruby Ridge in Idaho.
“All of these people have died standing for their principles,” Emry testified in the trial. “Lord forbid I ever have to pull a gun on a law enforcement officer,” he said, adding that “I may have to if they start breaking the Constitution and the oaths that they upheld.”