Pubdate: Sun, 23 Oct 2005
Source: Helena Independent Record (MT)
Copyright: 2005 Helena Independent Record
Author: Associated Press


POLSON - Two former Plains residents have filed suit in District 
Court in Missoula over alleged mistreatment by Northwest Drug Task 
Force agents, who searched their home for marijuana two years ago.

No criminal charges resulted after agents searched the home of 
Gabrielle Wescott and her daughter Annabelle Heasley on July 29, 2003.

According to the complaint, the women were mistreated, threatened, 
cursed at and terrorized during the raid by "three men dressed 
entirely in black with black hoods over their faces."

"At no point did any of these individuals identify themselves as law 
enforcement officers or members of the Northwest Drug Task Force," 
the lawsuit alleges.

The suit names as defendants 21 law enforcement agencies in five 
counties and "John Does 1-100." It says the women incurred medical 
expenses and suffered panic attacks and emotional distress, and seeks 
more than $1 million in damages.

The women's attorneys, Milton Datsopolous and Clinton Kammerer, did 
not return calls for comment.

Sanders County Attorney Bob Zimmerman also had no comment Monday, 
other than to confirm that he had referred the lawsuit to the 
county's insurance attorneys.

The Northwest Drug Task Force consists of officers from the 
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the Flathead, Lake, 
Lincoln, Sanders and Mineral county sheriff's offices.

A pretrial conference is scheduled for Jan. 5, but no trial date has 
been set. The plaintiffs, who now live in LaCenter, Wash., have 
requested a jury trial.
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