MISSOULA — Three men suspected in an illegal border crossing into Montana near Eureka and arrested after a high-speed pursuit made their initial appearances on Thursday in a Missoula federal courtroom.
Acting U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson says criminal complaints filed in the case allege immigration crimes against Christopher White, 41, of Jamaica; Rastesfaye Alpha Neil, 39, of Washington, D.C.; and Afrah Ahmed Abdi, 32, of Virginia.
The complaints accuse White of being an alien in the United States after deportation, Neil of transporting certain aliens and Abdi of improper entry by alien.
A criminal complaint is only an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, a news release notes.
U.S. Magistrate Judge John T. Johnston presided. All defendants were detained pending further proceedings.
According to the criminal complaints and affidavits filed in support of the complaints, on Jan. 23 at about 8:55 a.m., the Spokane Sector Border Patrol Dispatch received information that three subjects dressed in camouflage and dark clothing and carrying black backpacks were crossing the border from Canada into the United States near the area of West Kootenai, Montana.
Border Patrol agents located a Nissan Sentra on West Kootenai road leaving the area where the three subjects had crossed into the United States. The agents attempted to conduct a vehicle stop, and the Nissan eventually pulled to the side of the road.
As agents approached the vehicle on foot, the Nissan sped away and headed southeast on Highway 93. Law enforcement ultimately deployed a vehicle immobilization device on the Nissan, and it came to a stop down a small embankment off the highway near Whitefish, Montana. Law enforcement arrested the occupants.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette Stewart is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the Border Patrol, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, the Montana Highway Patrol and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.