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Howard County man who was fugitive pleads not guilty to federal firearms charges

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Howard County man classified at one point as a “dangerous fugitive” by federal officials has pleaded not guilty to federal firearms possession charges.

62-year-old Michael Strain of Lime Springs was indicted eight years ago on two counts of being a felon in possession of firearms. He was accused of possessing 13 various rifles, shotguns and pistols between November 2010 and July 2011 after being convicted of possessing explosives and contempt of court.

United States Marshals arrested Strain at a remote ranch on Native American land in Montana earlier this month. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had listed Strain on their list of 15 “most wanted” fugitives.

Officials say Strain is part of the “sovereign citizen” movement. The FBI describes the movement as “domestic terrorists” who say they “don’t have to answer to any government authority, including courts, taxing entities, motor vehicle departments, or law enforcement.”

Strain has pleaded not guilty to the firearms possession charges. His trial is scheduled to start on September 16 in United States District Court in Cedar Rapids.


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