Pharmacy theft team leader convicted of federal charges – NBC Los Angeles
A Lynwood man was convicted on Wednesday of federal theft charges for organizing and leading a team that committed 15 armed robberies at independent and family-owned pharmacies in Southern California, in an attempt to illegally sell the stolen prescription drugs.
Tyrome “Boobie” Lewis, 26, was convicted of all eight felony counts he faced. Lewis has been in federal custody since his arrest in July 2019, according to the US prosecutor’s office.
In a ruling on Wednesday, following a two-day trial held in April, U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt convicted Lewis on one count of conspiracy to obstruct trade by robbery and conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, and two counts each of interference with commerce by robbery, possession with intent to distribute oxycodone and knowingly using and brandishing of oxycodone ‘a gun during a violent crime.
According to evidence presented at trial, Lewis conspired with others to commit 15 armed robberies from May 2018 to July 2019. He selected pharmacies to steal, targeting small pharmacies to steal oxycodone and others. prescription pain relievers, prosecutors said.
Lewis also assigned the roles of the crew members and then served as a lookout while they committed the thefts. After the drugstore thefts, Lewis and others sold the stolen prescription drugs on the black market.
The team led by Lewis – nicknamed the “Oxy Bandits” by law enforcement – robbed pharmacies in Glendale, Bellflower, Paramount, Cerritos, Hawthorne, South Los Angeles, Pico Rivera, Huntington Park, Claremont, Westminster, Fullerton, Anaheim and Riverside, according to prosecutors.
Each of the heists shared a common practice, including targeting small pharmacies, placing stolen prescription drugs in trash bags or pharmacy trash cans, using a black semi-automatic handgun to threaten and intimidate store employees and force employees to open the medicine chest.
The guilty verdict stems from a larger investigation into armed robberies of pharmacies resulting from a partnership between the FBI and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Through this partnership, the US attorney’s office has indicted 21 people for their role in various drugstore heists. Since the investigation began in 2019, 19 people, including Lewis, have been convicted of their involvement in pharmacy robberies, while two defendants await trial.
Kronstadt has scheduled a September 23 sentencing hearing for Lewis, who faces life imprisonment in federal prison, prosecutors said.