DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of New Mexico

For Immediate Release

Monday, September 18, 2017
James D. Tierney
, United States Attorney
Contact: Elizabeth M. Martinez

Las Cruces Man Facing Federal Charge for Using Interstate Communications to Threaten Las Cruces Students

ALBUQUERQUE –Michael Anthony Estrada, 23, of Las Cruces, N.M., made his initial appearance today in federal court on a criminal complaint charging him with using interstate communications to threaten the lives and safety of children at a Las Cruces public elementary school. Estrada remains in custody pending a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing, both of which are currently scheduled for Sept. 21, 2017.

Estrada was arrested on Sept. 15, 2017, for allegedly using social media platforms to post threats to shoot children at a Las Cruces public elementary school. According to the complaint, the threats allegedly posted by Estrada led local schools in Las Cruces to shelter students in place and shut down operations until Estrada was apprehended.

If convicted of the charges in the criminal complaint, Estrada faces a statutory maximum penalty of five years in prison. Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Las Cruces Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Shapiro of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office is prosecuting the case.

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Phoenix Field Division