Ledeau admits carjackings, brandishing firearms in October 2022 chase
Santana Ledeau, 27, of Wolf Point, pleaded guilty in federal court on May 30 in relation to 2022 incidents.
Ledeau pleaded guilty to attempted carjacking and to using, carrying and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Ledeau faces a maximum of 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release on the attempted carjacking charge and a mandatory minimum of seven years to life in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release on the charge of brandishing a firearm, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided and the court will consider sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
Sentencing was set for Oct. 26 and Ledeau was detained pending further proceedings, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
A plea agreement reached by the parties calls for Ledeau to plead guilty to two counts of assault on a peace officer in district court in Cascade County, following the resolution of the federal case, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
If the court accepts the plea agreement at sentencing, the government will seek to dismiss additional charges of robbery affecting commerce, two counts of carjacking and one count of using, carrying and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence as charged in an indictment, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Ledeau is accused of hijacking a car in Billings on Sept. 30, 2022, when a woman was delivering laboratory samples to a hospital clinic and Ledeau demanded her keys and pointed a gun in her face, according to court documents.
As she looked for her keys in her purse, Ledeau sprayed the woman in the face with pepper spray, according to court documents.
Ledeau took her car and fled, according to court documents.
The victim’s car was later recovered in Musselshell County, according to court documents.
Ledeau is also accused of incidents on Oct. 17, 2022 when he and a female were driving around Great Falls in a vehicle that was determined to be stolen from North Dakota.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, 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.
Great Falls police were unable to stop Ledeau, who drove out of town heading south on I-15 toward Ulm, where he exited the interstate, driving up behind another vehicle, according to court documents.
Ledeau exited the vehicle he was driving and approached the driver of the other vehicle and demanded it, which the man refused, according to court documents.
Ledeau fired into the rear driver’s side window, which shattered, and the bullet went through the rear driver’s side seat into the trunk, where it was recovered, and the driver sped off, according to court documents.
Ledeau returned to the stolen vehicle and drove back onto I-15 and traveled south to Cascade, where he ran out of gas and approached a second man, who agreed to give Ledeau and his female companion a ride to a gas station.
When law enforcement arrived, Ledeau yelled at the second man to get out of the car and then got in, leading officers on a high-speed chase throughout the county, according to court documents.
During the chase, the female companion repeatedly called 911 because she feared for her well-being, according to court documents.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica A. Betley and Jeffrey K. Starnes are prosecuting the case.
The Great Falls Police Department, Cascade County Sheriff’s Office, Cascade County Attorney’s Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office, Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office, Billings Police Department, Musselshell County Sheriff’s Office and Montana Highway Patrol conducted the investigation.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make neighborhoods safer.
On May 26, 2021, the department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.