Canadian Murder Suspect Among Trio Charged Following High-Speed Chase

U.S. Border Patrol agents were pursuing vehicle that illegally crossed international border near Eureka; hour-long pursuit ended near Whitefish

By Andy Viano
Border Patrol. Beacon File Photo

A 32-year-old man on the lam after being accused of second-degree murder in Saskatchewan is one of three people charged in U.S. District Court following a lengthy high-speed chase on Saturday that began just south of the international border in Lincoln County and ended near Whitefish.

Afrah Ahmed Adbi is in custody at the Flathead County Detention Center on a federal hold and is scheduled to make an initial court appearance in U.S. District Court in Missoula today at 2 p.m. Abdi has been charged with improper entry by an alien.

A fingerprint analysis following his arrest indicated that Abdi also goes by the name of Afrah Ahmed Ali, and that he is the same man who stands charged with second-degree murder for his alleged role in a shooting outside a nightclub in Saskatoon, Saksatchewan in August. Court records note Abdi (aka Ali) is a permanent resident of the United States and a Somali national.

Two other men arrested alongside Abdi have also been charged in U.S. District Court. Christopher White, 41, has been charged with being an alien in the United States after deportation. White is a Jamaican citizen. Rastesfaye Alpha Neil, 39 and a U.S. citizen, was the alleged driver of the vehicle and has been federally charged with transporting certain aliens, along with several felony and misdemeanor counts in Lincoln County District Court.

According to court documents, the wild pursuit began when U.S. Border Patrol dispatch received trail camera notifications in the West Kootenai, Montana area, a remote community west of Lake Koocanusa, a little before 9 a.m. on Jan. 23. The trail camera picked up three individuals dressed in camouflage and carrying backpacks across the border from Canada into the United States.

At 9:35 a.m., two border patrol agents located a dark-colored Nissan Sentra leaving the area on West Kootenai Road, the only road leading out of the area where the border was breached. The agents activated their lights and sirens and the suspects initially pulled over, but when the agents exited their vehicle the Sentra took off at a high rate of speed.

Later that morning, a third agent positioned near the Lake Koocanusa Bridge observed the Sentra turn northbound on Montana Highway 37 toward Eureka. The agent began a pursuit and was joined by deputies from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. Once the Sentra reached Eureka, it turned southbound on U.S. Highway 93 and law enforcement notified Montana Highway Patrol and the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office that the vehicle was headed their way.

Eventually, a “Vehicle Immobilization Device” was used and the Sentra came to a stop down a small embankment about four miles outside Whitefish. Law enforcement was able to arrest the occupants of the vehicle without incident.

Just under an hour after the pursuit began, at 10:25 a.m., a K-9 handler from U.S. Border Patrol arrived on the scene. Once the suspects were detained, he deployed his service dog to search the vehicle for illegal drugs or concealed persons. Upon searching the vehicle, they discovered marijuana and pills on the rear floorboards of the Sentra, and one of the suspects, White, was found in possession of 21.8 grams of marijuana. Possession of less than one ounce (approx. 28 grams) of marijuana is legal in Montana as of Jan. 1.

Four people were in the vehicle when it was stopped. The fourth man, who is not a U.S. citizen, has not been charged in federal court. The U.S.-Canada border has been closed since March in an effort to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a story in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Abdi (aka Ali) was charged with second-degree murder on Aug. 25 but was not immediately detained. The alleged shooting occurred after a dispute between several patrons leaving Aria Food and Spirits in the early morning hours of Aug. 21. A 30-year-old man, Logan Nayneecassum, was found with a gunshot wound and pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Abdi is yet to make an initial appearance in Saskatoon Provincial Court.

andy@flatheadbeacon.com

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