A Columbia Falls man accused of robbing a Columbia Falls pharmacy of opiod drugs at gunpoint in April pleaded not guilty to one felony count of robbery, another for aggravated kidnapping and a third for criminal possession of drugs.
Grant Alan West, 38, appeared in Flathead County District Court for a May 19 arraignment hearing using a walker and entered the plea before Judge Robert B. Allison.
According to charging documents, Columbia Falls Police Department officers responded to a report of an armed robbery on April 13 at the Logan Health Pharmacy inside the Super 1 Grocery Store. Three victims reported that shortly before closing for the day, a man wearing a beanie, sunglasses and a mask entered the pharmacy’s side door, brandished a handgun and said, “Percocet 10.”
West allegedly pointed the gun toward at least one employee and directed them into the bathroom attached to the pharmacy and closed the door. After a few minutes, the employees asked if they could come out and when they heard no response from West, the victims exited the bathroom and discovered he was gone along with a 100-count bottle of Percocet, records state.
One of the employees identified the man, who was a prior customer at the pharmacy, and informed Columbia Falls police officers of his weapon, vehicle, tote bag and other physical descriptions.
Law enforcement located West, who matched the employees’ description, at a residence in Columbia Falls where authorities found several Percocet pills.
Additionally, West is under federal investigation and a criminal complaint accuses him with a Hobbs Act robbery where he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
West was booked in Flathead County Detention Center following the arrest and was released on April 22 after posting a $150,000 bond.
On May 9, West violated his conditions of release when he attempted to obtain a firearm from Gold Rush Pawn and was booked in jail on May 12, where he remains. His bond is set at $250,000.
At the arraignment hearing, the defendant’s attorney, Timothy Wenz, informed the court that West had previously pawned the firearm, which belonged to his grandfather.
“Mr. West was never trying to possess this firearm – I’ve confirmed that with multiple people,” Wenz said. “He was trying to get the gun from the pawn shop to give to his mother before the federal indictment.”
Wenz requested a motion for a bond reduction, which Judge Allison denied, citing his violation of release and because he answered questions on the pawn shop form falsely.
“It’s very alarming given the nature of the offenses with which he’s charged and that’s alleged to involve a firearm and then one of the first orders of business upon being released on bond is to go try to retrieve, pick up or obtain possession of a firearm,” Judge Allison said. “Under any circumstances, (that) was the absolute height of bad judgement.”
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