MISSOULA — A Columbia Falls man suspected of robbing a Columbia Falls pharmacy of drugs at gunpoint appeared in court today for an initial appearance on a criminal complaint, U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.
The criminal complaint accuses Grant Alan West, 37, with a Hobbs Act robbery. If convicted of the most serious crime, West faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
A criminal complaint is only an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen L. DeSoto presided. West was detained pending further proceedings.
Court documents allege that on April 13, Columbia Falls Police Department officers responded to a report of an armed robbery 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, brandished a handgun and said, “Percocet 10.” One of the victims grabbed a bottle of Percocet and put it in a tote bag the man carried. The three victims went into a bathroom and the man directed them to wait several minutes before they came out. When they came out of the bathroom, the victims called police and reported the robbery. An investigation led to West as the suspect, and he was arrested later that night.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara J. Elliott is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI and Columbia Falls Police Department.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to reduce violent crime. Through PSN, federal, tribal, state and local law enforcement partners in Montana focus on violent crime driven by methamphetamine trafficking, armed robbers, firearms offenses and violent offenders with outstanding warrants.
PACER case reference. 22-34.
The progress of cases may be monitored through the U.S. District Court Calendar and the PACER system. To establish a PACER account, which provides electronic access to review documents filed in a case, please visit http://www.pacer.gov/register.html. To access the District Court’s calendar, please visit https://ecf.mtd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/PublicCalendar.pl.