GREAT FALLS – A citizen of Mexico admitted in federal court earlier this week to being in the United States illegally after Glacier National Park personnel found him walking while on patrol, U.S. Attorney Kurt G. Alme said.
According to a release by Alme’s office, Luis Alejandro Lopez-Solis, 36, of Mexico, pleaded guilty to illegal reentry. Lopez-Solis told agents he left Mexico on Sept. 21, 2018, and had arrived the same day in Canada.
There, he rented a car and traveled to Waterton, Alberta, where on September 24 he started walking south, crossing into the United States, until he got found by the National Park Service rangers. He said his plan was to follow the NPS trail system to Chief Mountain where his girlfriend was going to pick him up.
While on routine patrol of the Goat Haunt area of Glacier National Park on September 24 park personnel told St. Mary Border Patrol agents of a suspicious person walking south from the Goat Haunt Ranger Station area.
Border Patrol agents searched for the person and later identified Lopez-Solis. Agents found him talking to a park law enforcement ranger on a trail south of the ranger station.
Lopez-Solis was taken to the ranger station for an interview. Lopez-Solis, who was in wet clothing and shivering, said he had fallen into a nearby creek while trying to cross it.
Agents arrested Lopez-Solis and flew him by helicopter from the ranger station to the St. Mary Border Patrol Station for further investigation. He confirmed he was a citizen of Mexico.
Lopez-Solis was deported in May 2017 after conviction on passport fraud. He did not have permission to reenter the United States.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette Stewart is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by U.S. Border Patrol and Glacier National Park Law Enforcement.
Sentencing is set for Feb. 21, 2019. Lopez-Solis is detained. Lopez-Solis faces a maximum 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.