MISSOULA — Christopher White, a Jamaican national who crossed into Montana from Canada and was arrested with others near Whitefish after a 75-mile car chase, admitted to an immigration charge in federal court on Monday.
Acting U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson said in a news release that White, 41, pleaded guilty to illegal reentry of a deported or removed alien.
In court documents filed in the case, the government alleged that White, a Jamaican national, was removed from the United States in March 2020 through New York to Canada. White did not have permission from the Department of Homeland Security to re-enter the United States.
On January 23, White returned to the United States near West Kootenai, near Eureka, and not a legal port of entry. White, who was a passenger in a vehicle, was arrested after a 75-mile car chase in which a defendant, Rastesfaye Neil, was the driver. Neil has pleaded not guilty to charges.
The government also alleged that on January 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.
Border Patrol agents found a Nissan Sentra on West Kootenai road leaving the area where the three subjects had crossed over the international boundary. The agents attempted to stop the vehicle, 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 north of Whitefish. Law enforcement arrested the four occupants.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen DeSoto presided. White was detained pending further proceedings. Sentencing has been set for August 12 before U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen. White faces a maximum 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.