This week, news broke: eleven people were charged for their involvement in a Florida-based crime ring tied to the major Connecticut heist in 2010, where thieves stole $80 MILLION in prescription drugs from a warehouse in CT. The investigation has been ongoing ever since, under the guise of “Operation Southern Hospitality.”
According to Fox News: “The thieves hit warehouses and stole tractor-trailers around the country, often from highway rest stops, and brought the drugs to South Florida in an attempt to sell them.
The medications included antidepressants, anti-psychotics and treatments for cancer, acne, epilepsy, arthritis, autoimmune disorders and other ailments, authorities said. Undercover FBI agents were able to buy all the stolen drugs to prevent them from entering the marketplace, said John Gillies, chief of the Miami FBI office.
“This investigation represents the largest takedown in U.S. history involving cargo theft,” Gillies said. “There were a lot of missing pieces to this case. We had no idea of the scope.”‘
Between January-March of 2010, 37-year-old ring leader Amaury Villa led brothers and friends in a crime spree that reads like the perfect plot for a Hollywood movie, involving back-and-forth flights from Miami to New York, shady emails about tractor trailer leases, car rentals and a surveillance video that surfaced, actually catching the thieves in the act. In the end, as The Boston Herald reported, “Amed Villa allegedly touched a water bottle that had been stored in the warehouse and left it there after he departed, prosecutors said. His fingerprints provided a clue that apparently helped investigators zero in on the brothers as suspects.”
In some instances, criminals posed as genuine prescription salesmen, possibly tampering with the drugs along the way, according to the FBI — which could have harmed many innocent, unwitting people. Depending on their sentences, the suspects will be in jail up to 10 years, max. Not enough, if you ask me.
Do YOU think crimes like these will cause prescription drugs to become more regulated? Should they be more regulated, to do whatever it takes to prevent criminals from stealing and selling massive amounts of prescription drugs to people who may not even need them for health reasons, and putting people who do, in danger?
…And who will play Amaury Villa when this is all made into movie? So many questions!