NewsCrime and Courts


Suspects in illegal Montana border crossing make initial court appearance

Eureka and Whitefish map
Posted at 6:57 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 08:59:57-05

GREAT FALLS — Three men suspected in an illegal border crossing into Montana near Eureka and arrested after a high-speed car chase made their initial appearances in court on Thursday.

The driver of the Nissan Sentra was identified as Rastesfaye Alpha Neil (United States Citizen), and the passengers were Christopher White (Jamaica Citizen), Naseem Ali Momammed aka Bati Ahmed (Somalia National, Canadian Legal Permanent Resident), and Afrah Ahmed Abdi (United States Legal Permanent Resident, Somalia National).

Acting U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson said in a news release that criminal complaints have been filed against White, Neil, and Abdi; there is no word yet on what charges may be filed against the other two people.

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.

Court documents state that on January 23 at about 8:55 a.m., the Spokane Sector Border Patrol Dispatch received information that three people 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 in Montana.

Border Patrol agents located a Nissan Sentra on West Kootenai road leaving the area where the three people 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 walked toward the vehicle, the Nissan sped away and headed southeast on Highway 93.

Officers ultimately used a vehicle immobilization device on the Nissan, and it came to a stop down a small embankment off the highway near Whitefish. The three people were then arrested.

The news release notes that a criminal complaint is only an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John Johnston presided. The three defendants were detained pending further proceedings.