Nevada fugitive handed over to feds |

Nevada fugitive handed over to feds

Courtesy Nevada County Sheriff's Office
John Hart | The Union

A man arrested in October after a high-speed chase through Grass Valley that began after he was mistakenly identified as one of the FBI’s 10-most wanted is now in federal custody on charges of 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.

Although Christopher Lee Lang was not, in fact, Glen Stewart Godwin — a convicted murderer who had escaped from Folsom Prison 25 years earlier — he was on the lam from a Nevada prison.

The strange saga began when 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.

Lang 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 on 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, according to Forristel’s affidavit.

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, Forristel wrote.

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.

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, the affidavit said.

He allegedly eventually confessed to having purchased the gun that morning, in exchange for some meth.

Lang had numerous prior convictions, including vehicle theft in 1986, fraud in 1988, possession of a controlled substance in 1996, and possession for sale in 1997 and 2000, according to the affidavit.

He had walked away from a “transitional center” near Las Vegas in late August 2011, said a spokesman from the Nevada Department of Corrections.

Lang’s charges in Nevada County were dismissed on Thursday, due to the fact that he currently is in federal custody and is being held without bail.

A preliminary hearing in U.S. District Court in Sacramento has been set for April 18. His counsel indicated there might be a motion for a competency evaluation at that time; he also is reviewing a proposed settlement offer,

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4229.

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