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National Crackdown on Prescription Drug Thefts Involves Dozens of Suspects

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Dozens of suspects across the country have been arrested and charged with stealing prescription drugs from tractor trailers and warehouses. Two brothers are accused of stealing more than $70 million of prescription drugs from a warehouse in Connecticut.

The brothers, Cuban citizens living in Miami, were arrested in connection with the theft from an Eli Lilly warehouse. They are accused to cutting a hole in the roof of the warehouse, and partially disabling the security alarm. They allegedly used a forklift to load pallets of the schizophrenia drug Zyprexa, the antidepressant Prozac, and the cancer drug Gemzar, into a tractor trailer truck, according to Reuters.

Other suspects were charged in Miami with thefts of prescription drugs from warehouses and tractor trailers in Ohio, Tennessee and Pennsylvania and Virginia.

“These defendants moved truckloads and pallets of stolen pharmaceuticals from other states to South Florida for storage and ultimate sale,” Miami U.S. Attorney Wilfredo Ferrer said in a news release. “Along the way, they transported and handled these medications without any regard whatsoever for their proper storage and care, and – worst yet – with a callous disregard for the safety and health of the ultimate consumer.”

In New Jersey, 12 defendants were charged with stealing and selling millions of dollars in prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, and other products.

The arrests, known as “Operation Southern Hospitality,” are a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. If convicted, the defendants face up to five years in prison on controlled substances and conspiracy charges, and up to 10 years in prison on charges of sale or possession of stolen goods.

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