President Barack Obama's uncle was stopped on suspicion of drink driving, told police he planned to arrange bail through the White House and is being held on an immigration alert.
Onyango Obama, 67, was arrested last week in Framingham, about 20 miles west of Boston, Massachusetts, after police said he made a rolling stop and nearly caused one of their cars to strike his vehicle.
Police said that after being booked at the police station, Obama was asked whether he wanted to make a telephone call to arrange for bail.
"I think I will call the White House," he stated, according to a police report filed in Framingham District Court.
Police said Obama, originally from Kenya and the half-brother of the president's late father, pleaded not guilty on Friday and was being held without bail on a detainer from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In a court document, Customs said he had an earlier deportation or removal order.
His immigration status could not immediately be confirmed, but such orders are generally reserved for people living in the country illegally.
An immigration detainer, used by Customs to identify people in jail or prison who could be deported, is a request to another law enforcement agency to notify Customs before releasing the person so it can arrange to take over custody.
A spokesman for US Customs declined to comment on Obama's immigration case, and the White House had no comment.
The president refers in his memoir Dreams From My Father, about retracing his roots and his 1988 trip to Kenya, to an Uncle Omar, who matches Onyango Obama's background and has the same date of birth.
Onyango Obama was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and failure to yield the right of way.