Conspirators Broke into Pharmacies Throughout
(Seattle, WA)-IVAN STOUTENBURG, 31, of Edmonds, Washington, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle in connection with a scheme to burglarize pharmacies and sell the prescription narcotics in the State of Washington for thousands of dollars. STOUTENBURG was part of a criminal ring in Snohomish County responsible for the burglarizing of dozens of pharmacies in the Pacific Northwest and on the West Coast from 2004 to the present.
According to court documents, STOUTENBURG admitted joining with other Snohomish County men in an unlawful agreement to burglarize pharmacies. In furtherance of this unlawful agreement, during the Fall of 2004, STOUTENBURG traveled with others from the State of Washington to Redding, California, and there burglarized a Lim’s Pharmacy located in the Shasta Community Health Center, in Redding, California.
This burglary was similar to others committed by the group. It took place after dark during the early morning hours of December 2, 2004. Prior to entering the pharmacy, the exterior telephone lines leading to the pharmacy were cut, so the remote alarm would not activate when entry was made and the police would not be notified. STOUTENBURG and others broke in through a pharmacy window. The burglars stole controlled substances including large stocks of oxycodone, fentanyl, methadone, morphine, and hydrocodone, among other powerful Schedule II and Schedule III drugs. Approximately 47,000 dosage units were taken along with $301 cash. The men then left the pharmacy with the drugs and returned by rental car to Marysville, Washington, where the drugs were distributed. STOUTENBURG was paid several thousand dollars in return for his participation. The replacement cost of the drugs to Lim’s Pharmacy was approximately $40,000.00.
Selling the stolen drugs can net a profit of up to $150,000 per burglary. High strength oxycodone can sell for as much at $80 per pill, fentanyl patches (another narcotic pain medication) can sell for $50 per patch. These drugs are then consumed by addicts and others, without a valid prescription, posing harm to themselves and society in general. Their non-prescribed use has resulted in multiple emergency room visits by individuals at local hospitals, between 2004 and the present.
On November 15, 2006, two individuals, Michael Hinkle, 39, and Jennifer Hinkle, 34, of Marysville, Washington, pleaded guilty in United States District Court in connection with this criminal ring. Michael Hinkle admitted to burglarizing a pharmacy in Pendleton, Oregon, on behalf of the group, and Jennifer Hinkle admitted to distributing some of the drugs taken during the burglaries. They are both awaiting sentencing.
Since that time, two additional individuals entered guilty pleas in United States District Court for their unlawful roles in furtherance of this criminal activity. On November 17, 2006, Todd Downes, 27, of Marysville, Washington, pleaded guilty to distributing quantities of pharmaceutical controlled substances to others, which he had received from one of the pharmacy burglars. On December 14, 2006, Lyle D. Woods, II, 32, of Marysville, Washington, similarly entered a guilty plea to distributing pharmaceutical substances which he had received from one of the pharmacy burglars. Both men admitted distributing 100 pill quantities of Percocet, a painkiller containing oxycodone, and Vicoden, a painkiller containing hydrocodone, Schedule II and III controlled substances, during 2006. They are both awaiting sentencing.
Pharmacy Burglary, and the distribution of pharmaceutical controlled substances, are felonies under federal law punishable by up to 20 years in prison and up to a $1 million fine.
As part of his plea agreement, STOUTENBURG agreed to pay restitution to the pharmacy for damage done to the pharmacy during the burglary and for the loss sustained by the pharmacy and its insurer due to the drugs taken.
STOUTENBURG is scheduled to be sentenced in U.S. District on April 20, 2007.
This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (NW HIDTA); the Redding, California, Police Department; and the Monroe, Washington, Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ronald J. Friedman.