GREAT FALLS — Santana Cruz Ledeau of Wolf Point, who admitted to attempted carjacking and a firearms crime stemming from a violent crime spree that began with an armed carjacking in Yellowstone County and ended in Cascade County with another carjacking, was sentenced in federal court in Great Falls in Wednesday, November 1, 2023.
Ledeau, 27 years old, pleaded guilty in May to attempted carjacking and to using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Morris presided sentenced Ledeau to 11 years and two months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said in a news release. There is no parole in the federal system, but a defendant may be eligible for a reduced sentence not exceeding 15 percent of the overall sentence by earning credit for good behavior.
Court documents alleged that on September 30, 2022, in Billings, Ledeau accosted a woman as she tried to get out of her car in a hospital parking lot. Ledeau pointed a gun at her, demanded keys and sprayed pepper spray her in the face. He then carjacked the woman’s vehicle and fled. The woman described the gun as “red with some silver.” Law enforcement found the car a few days later in Musselshell County.
A few weeks later, on October. 17, 2022, Ledeau and a female companion were driving around Great Falls in a white truck that was later discovered to be stolen from North Dakota. Ledeau got into a fight outside a motel and fired a pistol into the air. He fled the scene and was involved in a hit-and-run car accident. Great Falls police were unable to stop Ledeau, who drove south on Interstate 15 toward Ulm.
When he neared Ulm, Ledeau exited the interstate, drove up behind a Buick sedan, got out of the truck and demanded the Buick from the man driving it. The driver refused to give up his car. Ledeau then pointed a pistol at the car and shot through the rear driver’s side window. The window shattered, and the bullet traveled into the trunk, where it was recovered. The driver sped away, and Ledeau took off down I-15 in the stolen truck.
Ledeau made it to Cascade where he ran out of gas. There, a man offered to take Ledeau to get gas, and Ledeau and his companion got into the man’s car. However, once in the car, Ledeau threatened the driver with a knife and demanded the vehicle. The driver jumped out of the car and noticed law enforcement beginning to arrive. Deputies attempted to stop Ledeau, but he drove the stolen car at the officers, who had to flee out of his path.
As deputies continued trying to stop Ledeau, Ledeau drove back onto Interstate 15 at a high rate of speed and traveled the wrong way on the interstate. Ledeau eventually exited the interstate and crashed near Simms.
At the crash scene, officers found Ledeau in possession of a pistol that appeared to be the same gun he used in the Billings carjacking and a bottle of Southern Comfort whiskey. Court documents state that Ledeau was intoxicated and belligerent, and agents recovered numerous cartridges, ammunition, and empty ammunition boxes from the truck. The gun had a red stock and dark colored slide and was determined to be a 9mm pistol.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica Betley and Jeffrey Starnes prosecuted the case. The Great Falls Police Department, Cascade County Attorney’s Office, Cascade County Sheriff’s Office, Montana Highway Patrol, Montana Division of Criminal Investigation, Musselshell County Sheriff’s Office, Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office, Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office, Billings Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives conducted the investigation.