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In Austin today, federal authorities filed a criminal complaint against an Austin man for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a destructive device, announced U.S. Attorney Gregg N. Sofer and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division.

The criminal complaint charges 38-year-old Erich Michael Wittwer with one count of being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm, namely a convicted felon, and one count of unlawful possession of a destructive device.  The criminal complaint alleges that while executing a search warrant in the defendant’s residence earlier today, federal agents discovered a .308 caliber semi-automatic assault rifle and a homemade destructive device.

According to the criminal complaint, Wittwer’s criminal history reveals two prior felony convictions in 2009 for Assault Family Violence in Travis County, Texas.

Each charge calls for up to ten years in federal prison upon conviction.  Wittwer remains in federal custody following his arrest earlier today. 

The FBI is investigating this case with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Travis County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Cherry is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

A criminal complaint is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

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The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

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