Armed methamphetamine trafficker involved in high-speed pursuits on Blackfeet Indian Reservation and in Billings sentenced to 12 years in prison

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GREAT FALLS — A Billings man who admitted methamphetamine trafficking and firearms crimes involving two high-speed pursuits was sentenced today to 12 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.

Elijah James Rideshorse, 30, pleaded guilty on May 12 to possession with intent to distribute meth and to felon in possession of a firearm.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided.

The government alleged in court documents that Rideshorse brought ounce quantities of meth to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in August 2020. On Aug. 23, 2020, Rideshorse was in a high-speed vehicle pursuit from Browning to Cut Bank. The driver, another passenger, identified as John Doe 1, and Rideshorse all fled on foot once they made it to Cut Bank. Only Doe was apprehended that day, and officers found meth supplied by Rideshorse on Doe. The vehicle also contained more of Rideshorse’s meth. Investigators determined that Rideshorse was involved in drug distribution, possessed firearms and had recently purchased drugs in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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The government further alleged that law enforcement received numerous complaints of Rideshorse being involved in criminal activity in the Billings area. On Oct. 12, 2020, the Billings Police Department officers attempted to stop a stolen vehicle that had been involved in recent shootings. The vehicle fled, leading officers on a high-speed pursuit. The vehicle continued to flee after officers spiked its tires and was stopped when intentionally struck by a Montana Highway Patrol vehicle as it approached school buses and heavy traffic. The driver, identified as Rideshorse, fled but was caught. Three female passengers, including two juveniles, were in the vehicle. Officers found a stolen semi-automatic pistol that Rideshorse had dropped on the road as he fled and an AR-style rifle with a 40-round magazine in the vehicle. Rideshorse was prohibited from possessing firearms because of a prior felony conviction.

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Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan R. Plaut prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services, Montana Highway Patrol, Billings Police Department, Cut Bank Police Department and Glacier County Sheriff’s Office.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to reduce violent crime. Through PSN, federal, tribal, state and local law enforcement partners in Montana focus on violent crime driven by methamphetamine trafficking, armed robbers, firearms offenses and violent offenders with outstanding warrants.

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