Missoula police raided an apartment building that caters to disabled and elderly residents last week after receiving a tip that an individual was selling marijuana to tenants. The suspected dealer, Taylor Gibbs, 22, was found to be a medical marijuana caregiver registered with the state, and no charges were filed.
Gibbs says on the morning of Feb. 3 a Missoula S.W.A.T. team and the Missoula Drug Enforcement Task Force came to Eagle Watch Estates on Missoula's Westside and entered the residence of an individual for whom Gibbs serves as a caretaker (not a medical marijuana caregiver). The police then, Gibbs says, interviewed other residents in the facility. Gibbs says he serves as a medical marijuana caregiver for as many as 12 Eagle Watch residents, most of whom are elderly and ill. Eagle Watch is not a licensed nursing home, but offers accessible housing that caters to the disabled and seniors.
According to Missoula Police Chief Mark Muir, the police didn't know if Gibbs, founder of Timeless Caregivers, was a registered caregiver or not. Muir says the drug trafficking tip came from an Eagle Watch staffer.
"Some of the initial information was that we didn't know if he did have [a caregiver card]," Muir says, "so when they first went to talk to him, they were assuming he didn't have one. But he later did provide them with identification that helped straighten that up."
Police found no wrongdoing, but Gibbs says damage was done. He claims the resident for whom he was caretaking when police arrived severed ties with him, fearful that Gibbs' association with medical marijuana could lead to other incidents. Gibbs also says he lost medical marijuana patients at Eagle Watch because they're now "just a little too afraid."
"It's not a good feeling to be bombarded by bullies," he says.
After the incident Gibbs threatened Muir with court action on the basis that the police officers involved acted inappropriately.
"Nothing has shown itself to be blatantly wrong in the officers' conduct," Muir says, "but I've only scratched the surface, so I don't know."CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to Eagle Watch Estates as a nursing home facility. Nursing homes must be licensed with the state and provide skilled nursing care to residents. Eagle Watch Estates caters to disabled and elderly residents, and many residents have private caretakers, but it is not a licensed nursing home. The story was updated on Monday, Feb. 15.