Authorities raid Big Creek Family Medicine in Florence


FLORENCE, Mont. - A 2-year investigation has resulted in a search warrant that allowed investigators to raid Big Creek Family Medicine and Urgent Care in Florence Tuesday.

The Missoula County Sheriff's Office, the Missoula High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation, and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, showed up at the clinic at 285 Rodeo Drive. That's near the corner of Eastside Highway and Highway 93.

Officials said Dr. Chris Christensen is under investigation into prescription writing practices.

NBC Montana called the clinic several times Tuesday, and the call went to voicemail.

Christensen's clinic attracted a good number of local patients. But if there were any patients visiting the clinic Tuesday there was no way they were keeping their appointments. Police tape barricades kept everybody out.

You couldn't miss the deputies standing watch.

Bessie Evans, of Florence, was picking up lunch when she heard the news. She had gone to Christensen once for a spider bite.

"He took the time," said Evans."He was very nice. He held my hand."

The clinic was convenient and very inexpensive, she said. But Evans said she wasn't shocked at the raid. She recalled rumors that had circulated about the clinic.

"I had heard rumors before that maybe it was too easy to get pain pills," she said.

Joe Parker is a worker who did maintenance at the clinic. He said Christensen took care of people who didn't have insurance, including Parker himself, and his mom.

"She'd heard he was affordable," he said. "And he was able to figure out what was wrong, and essentially saved her life, and I'm really thankful for what he did."

The search warrant for Big Creek Family Medicine and Urgent Care was issued by District Judge Jim Haynes.

People who came to work at neighboring businesses couldn't figure out what was happening when they saw the yellow crime tape swathing the clinic. It isn't something you see a lot of around a doctor's office.

Tuesday evening the police tape and deputies on watch remained on site, as the investigation continued.

Anyone with relevant information may contact the Ravalli County Sheriff's Office at 406-375-6650. Comments or questions may be addressed at the Ravalli County Sheriff's Facebook page.

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