A man arrested in October after a high-speed chase through Grass Valley that began when he was mistakenly identified as one of the FBI’s 10-most wanted pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Christopher Lee Lang, 48, of Grass Valley, had been charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence or drug trafficking.
Lang entered a guilty plea before U.S. District Court Judge Morrison C. England and is set for sentencing July 25. Lang faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. He also faces a possible $250,000 fine and a three-year term of supervised release.
On Oct. 24, 2012, Lang was arrested after a lengthy chase that began when he was identified by a tipster as Glen Stewart Godwin, a convicted murderer who had escaped from Folsom Prison 25 years earlier.
Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies received information that a man living in a Grass Valley apartment complex was Godwin, who has been on the FBI’s 10-most-wanted list since 1996.
The man believed to be Godwin allegedly had shown a gun to an informant and said he had escaped from Folsom in 1980; he also bore a remarkable resemblance to an age-progressed image of Godwin.
Deputies received a vehicle description and began staking out the apartment complex, spotting Lang’s vehicle the morning of Oct. 24 on Highway 49.
Lang led deputies on a “reckless and high-speed pursuit,” including driving at speeds up to 75 mph past Nevada Union High School on Ridge Road and running numerous stop signs and stoplights, according to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint filed Feb. 22 by FBI Special Agent Andrew Forristel.
Lang eventually crashed his car into a rock retaining wall off Bitney Springs Road.
The fleeing suspect allegedly reached toward his waistband, and a suspected weapon was observed in his back pocket.
Despite repeated commands to show his hands, Lang allegedly reached behind his back, at which point one of the deputies fired a round, missing Lang.
Lang eventually was taken into custody, despite allegedly resisting arrest.
According to the affidavit, a loaded Mauser semi-automatic handgun was found on Lang, containing six rounds, one of which was in the chamber. He eventually confessed to having purchased the gun that morning, in exchange for some meth.
Deputies also allegedly located a glass pipe with residue, and two baggies containing nearly 5 grams of methamphetamine. In Lang’s vehicle, deputies reportedly found 14.26 grams of meth, 43 rounds of .32-caliber ammunition, drug paraphernalia including a scale and multiple glass pipes, 2.6 pounds of marijuana and 19 clonazepam pills, a sedative.
Lang initially gave deputies a false name but eventually was identified as a prison escapee who walked away from a “transitional center” near Las Vegas in late August 2011.
His numerous prior convictions include vehicle theft in 1986, fraud in 1988, possession of a controlled substance in 1996 and possession for sale in 1997 and 2000.
To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.