Eli Lilly Drug Warehouse Heist Lands Fifth Guilty Plea
Published: Nov 26, 2014
November 26, 2014
By Krystle Vermes, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
A fifth person pleaded guilty Tuesday to the 2010 robbery of a warehouse owned by Eli Lilly and Company in Connecticut, a heist which resulted in the theft of thousands of boxes of prescription drugs and was the largest in Connecticut history, according to the Associated Press.
Rafael Lopez, a Miami resident and Cuban citizen, pleaded guilty to federal charges that accused him of hiding knowledge of the crime. As a result, he will face up to three years in prison once he is sentenced in February.
Miami-area men Amaury Villa, Amed Villa, Yosmany Nunez and Alexander Marquez were responsible for making the plans to break into the warehouse back in 2010, according to The Courant. They disabled the security systems and cut a hole through the roof to get into the building. The heist was estimated to be worth $80 million.
The men were eventually brought in after a water bottle containing fingerprints was found at the scene. All four of the men have pleaded guilty to various charges, and they now await sentencing.
Planning the Heist
Leading up to the burglary, federal officials claimed that the Villa brothers staked out the Eli Lilly warehouse back in January 2010. Amaury Villa then flew to New York, rented a car, then drove to Connecticut to take a look at the location. Security footage has him on camera, according to NBC Connecticut.
The break-in did not occur until March 13, 2010. On this date, the local area was being hit by a storm that brought heavy rain and wind. The heist was estimated to take place between 10 p.m. and 3:40 a.m. The men allegedly used a forklift within the facility to load boxes onto a tractor trailer.
Pieces of the crime began to come together after the water bottle was discovered. Also, evidence shows that Amaury checked out of a local hotel and later returned to Miami, according to U.S. Attorney David Fein. In October 2011, a storage facility in Doral, Fla., was found to contain $80 million in pharmaceuticals.
Amed Villa, the brother of Amaury, is accused of other related crimes, according to MassLive. Villa is being looked at for the theft of GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceuticals and cigarettes at various warehouse facilities in other areas of the country.