Tim Leeds — email@example.com
An agent of the local drug task force said Monday that two local state employees, also working as caregivers under the Montana medical marijuana laws, were arrested last week on suspicion of illegally selling marijuana in violation of that law.
Agent Pete Federspiel of the Tri-Agency Safe Trails Task Force said Delaine “Lainie” Fitzpatrick, born in 1977, and Malisa Fitzpatrick, born in 1982, were arrested and felony charges are pending on both.
Lainie Fitzpatrick is employed by the Child and Family Services division of the state Department of Public Health and Human Services in Havre, and Malisa Fitzpatrick is a deputy juvenile probation officer here.
The Fitzpatricks could not be reached for comment by deadline.
A representative of the state Public Health and Human Services agency said Lainie Fitzpatrick has been approved to use some accrued annual leave and compensation time while she deals with the matter.
A local representative of the juvenile probation and parole office declined to comment on a personnel issue. Comments from the state office about Malisa Fitzpatrick’s job status could not be received by deadline.
Federspiel said the investigation indicates that both were violating the medical marijuana law by selling to patients not registered to them, selling more than allowed, and buying marijuana from outside sources to resell to patients.
Whether the two were selling marijuana in relation to clients from their state job is unknown, Federspiel said. The task force agents are continuing to investigate that issue, he said.
Federspiel said the drug task force began investigating the two after receiving five complaints about people receiving more marijuana than caregivers are legally allowed to sell, or people selling marijuana they had obtained from the Fitzpatricks to task force informants.
The task force called in help from the state Criminal Investigation Division, he said. An undercover agent successfully purchased 8 grams of marijuana from Lanie Fitzpatrick July 28 without being registered as her patient, Federspiel said.
The agent later purchased 4 ounces of marijuana from Lainy Fitzpatrick Aug. 2, and purchased 4 ounces from Marisa Fitzpatrick Aug. 14, Federspiel said.
Under the Montana medical marijuana law, a patient may possess only 1 ounce of usable marijuana and six marijuana plants.
On Aug. 19, the agent ordered 4 more ounces from Malisa Fitzpatrick. She was arrested by a Havre police officer while en route to deliver the order, Federspiel said.
A search warrant was served on the residence where the two lived and Lainy Fitzpatrick also was arrested, he said. The two women were released on their own recognizance after a hearing Friday, Federspiel said.
During the search of their residence the agents seized $27,000 in cash and 63 ounces of material containing marijuana, Federspiel said. Records the Fitzpatricks were keeping indicate they were maintaining possession of 7 to 10 pounds of marijuana a week.
A search warrant also was served on a garage where the two grew marijuana for their caregiver business. Federspiel said the number of immature plants in the garage were legal with the number of patients registered to the business.