Michael Emry was arrested for unlawful possession of a machine gun, and for obliterating the serial number on a firearm.

Michael Emry was arrested for unlawful possession of a machine gun, and for obliterating the serial number on a firearm.

Deschutes County Jail

A self-styled reporter sympathetic to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupiers was arrested by the FBI Friday on two federal weapons charges in Grant County.

Michael Emry of Boise, Idaho was in Harney County throughout the armed occupation reporting for “The Voice Of Idaho,” a pro-Bundy website he established with his wife Becky Hudson.

Emry is charged with unlawful possession of a machine gun that is not registered to him, and for unlawful possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number. Agents seized the .50 caliber Ma Deuce machine gun during a search under warrant of Emry’s trailer in Grant County.  

In an interview with FBI agents, Emry admitted that he took the fully automatic machine gun from a shop where he worked in Idaho about six weeks ago, without the store owner’s knowledge. He also admitted to obliterating the serial number, according to the criminal complaint.

Emry’s self-styled reporting approach was less visible than that of internet radio host and militant journalist Pete Santilli, who was arrested and charged alongside the leaders of the occupation Jan. 26. But Emry was also a constant at the refuge and in Burns during the 41-day standoff, sometimes live-streaming interviews and activities at the refuge. He regularly embedded with the self-styled patriot group 3% of Idaho and praised its mission in his reports.

Hudson’s website includes posts, podcasts and videos denouncing federal agencies, praising the occupation participants, and lambasting reporters and media.

More recently, Emry and Hudson relocated to Grant County, living out of a fifth wheel trailer and helping build a local “Committee of Correspondence.” (The group names harkens to the American Revolution, when the colonies created their own governing bodies by the same name.) On a recently created Facebook page, the duo posted content in support of Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer, who is currently under investigation by Oregon’s Department of Justice.

On Friday, an administrator of the page confirmed Emry’s arrest and posted they didn’t yet know what charges Emry was facing but, “presumably it was because of the Malheur Occupation. Michael was there as media and nothing more. For those of you who might think about cheering at the news, keep in mind that there are two issues involved here - freedom of the press and freedom of speech.”

There is no reference to the Malheur Refuge occupation or Emry’s role during it in the criminal complaint.

Emry was held in Deschutes County jail awaiting transport to Lane County Friday night.