GREAT FALLS – A Billings man who admitted to methamphetamine trafficking and gun crimes involving two high-speed chases was today sentenced to 12 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release, the prosecutor said Acting American Leif M. Johnson.
Elijah James Rideshorse, 30, pleaded guilty on May 12 to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm.
U.S. Chief District Judge Brian M. Morris presided.
The government alleged in court documents that Rideshorse brought one-ounce amounts of methamphetamine to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in August 2020. On August 23, 2020, Rideshorse was in a high-speed vehicle chase from Browning to Cut Bank . The driver, another passenger identified as John Doe 1, and Rideshorse all fled on foot when they reached Cut Bank. Only Doe was apprehended that day, and officers found Rideshorse supplied methamphetamine on Doe. The vehicle also contained more Rideshorse methamphetamine. Investigators determined that Rideshorse was involved in drug distribution, owned guns and had recently purchased drugs in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The government further alleged that law enforcement had received numerous complaints that Rideshorse was involved in criminal activity in the Billings area. On October 12, 2020, officers from the Billings Police Department attempted to stop a stolen vehicle that had been involved in recent shootings. The vehicle fled, leading officers in a high-speed pursuit. The vehicle continued to flee after officers punctured its tires and was stopped when it was 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 passengers, including two minors, were in the vehicle. Officers found a stolen semi-automatic pistol that Rideshorse had dropped on the road as he fled and an AR-type rifle with a 40-round magazine in the vehicle. Rideshorse was prohibited from owning firearms due to a previous felony conviction.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan R. Plaut continued 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 US Department of Justice initiative to reduce violent crime. Through the PSN, federal, tribal, state, and local law enforcement partners in Montana are focusing on violent crime caused by methamphetamine trafficking, armed robbers, gun offenses, and crime. violent offenders with pending warrants.