DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

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

For Immediate Release

Monday, December 11, 2017
James D. Tierney
, United States Attorney
Contact: Alyssa C. Ferda

Las Cruces Man Pleads Guilty to Using Interstate Communications to Threaten Elementary school Students

ALBUQUERQUE – Michael Anthony Estrada, 24, of Las Cruces, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court to a felony information charging him with using interstate communications to threaten the lives and safety of children at a Las Cruces public elementary school.

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

During today’s proceedings, Estrada pled guilty to a felony information charging him with threatening to injure through the use of interstate communications. In entering the guilty plea, Estrada admitted that on Sept. 15, 2017, he posted a threat on social media that he was going to shoot up a Las Cruces public elementary school. Estrada further admitted that as a result of his actions, the elementary school he threatened and several other Las Cruces elementary schools were placed on lock down.

At sentencing, Estrada faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. Estrada remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

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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Field Division: Phoenix Field Division