He was caring for a developmentally disabled patient. Then the drug bust happened

The state Department of Health is investigating a nursing assistant who admitted to using cocaine and had a patient with him in his Bellingham apartment when authorities searched it for drugs in March.

James Alexander Galen-Abbitt, 31, is awaiting trial on charges of possessing cocaine and MDMA, a drug commonly known as “Molly,” with intent to distribute.

In September, the state Department of Health accused him of unprofessional conduct in his role as a nursing assistant.

His nursing assistant credential has expired but is eligible for renewal. Here are the details of the case:

Galen-Abbitt was working at a supported living facility, where he cared for a person with developmental disabilities, identified only as Patient A, according to state Health Department documents.

On March 24, 2019, he took the patient to his apartment.

The patient was there when the Whatcom Gang and Drug Task Force, working with the Bellingham Police Department SWAT Team, served a search warrant on his apartment at 209 W. Holly St., according to court documents and a previous story in The Bellingham Herald.

They served it around 5 a.m. March 24, after a two-month investigation into the sale and distribution of illegal drugs out of the apartment.

Law enforcement allegedly found 2.5 ounces of cocaine, 4 ounces of LSD, 24 grams of Molly and psilocybin mushrooms along with four guns, including two assault-style rifles.

On March 24, Galen-Abbitt reportedly admitted to police that he used cocaine, according to health department documents.

Also arrested in connection with the case was Jarel Dwayne Trott, 28, on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and being a felon in possession of firearms.

Kie Relyea has been a reporter at The Bellingham Herald since 1997 and currently writes about social services and recreation in Whatcom County. She started her career in 1991 as a reporter and editor in Northern California.