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USA: Pharmacy raids put over-the-counter drugs dealing in jail for 20 years.

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Editorial Staff

Tyrome Lewis, who organised and led a gang with the media-nickname "the Oxy-Bandits" that committed 15 armed robberies of independent “mom-and-pop” pharmacies throughout Southern California, has been sentenced to 240 months in federal prison. He was convicted earlier this year and sentenced yesterday.

The US Department of Justice says of the decision:

Tyrome Lewis, 26, a.k.a. “Boobie,” was sentenced by United States District Judge John A. Kronstadt. After a two-day bench trial in April, Judge Kronstadt found Lewis guilty of one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, two counts of interference with commerce by robbery, two counts of possession with intent to distribute oxycodone and two counts of knowingly using and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.

From May 2018 to July 2019, Lewis conspired with others to commit 15 armed robberies. Lewis selected the pharmacies to be robbed, targeting smaller pharmacies to steal oxycodone and other similar prescription medication. He also assigned the roles from the gang members, and then he served as a lookout while conspirators committed the robberies. Following the pharmacy robberies, Lewis and others would sell the stolen prescription medication on the black market.

The Lewis-led armed gang robbed pharmacies in Glendale, Bellflower, Paramount, Cerritos, Hawthorne, South Los Angeles, Pico Rivera, Huntington Park, Claremont, Westminster, Fullerton, Anaheim, and Riverside.

Each of the robberies shared a common modus operandi including targeting smaller pharmacies, placing the stolen prescription drugs into the pharmacy’s rubbish bags or rubbish bins, using a black semi-automatic handgun to threaten and intimidate store employees and forcing employees to open the medication vault.

"[Lewis’s] conduct subjected numerous innocent civilians (employees, customers, and bystanders), law enforcement (who engaged in at least two high speed chases with defendant’s crew members), and robbery crew members to profound danger”, said prosecutors.

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