TWO MEN CHARGED IN $80 MILLION PHARMACEUTICALS
THEFT FROM ELI LILLY WAREHOUSE IN ENFIELD
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Carl Sferrazza, Chief of the Enfield Police Department, today announced that two individuals have been arrested on federal conspiracy and theft charges related to their alleged participation in the March 2010 theft of approximately $80 million in pharmaceuticals from an Eli Lilly Company warehouse and storage facility in Enfield, Conn., reportedly the biggest theft in Connecticut history. AMAURY VILLA, 37, and his brother AMED VILLA, 46, both citizens of Cuba residing in Miami, Fla., were arrested today in Florida.
On March 12, 2012, a federal grand jury in New Haven returned a sealed indictment charging Amaury and Amed Villa with theft of interstate shipment and conspiracy. The indictment was unsealed today following the arrests in Florida.
“The charges announced today are the result of a sustained and thorough investigation by the FBI and the Enfield Police Department,” said U.S. Attorney Fein. “As a result of their efforts, and our counterparts in Florida and across the country, we believe that a prolific cargo theft ring has been dismantled.”
“The relationship with the Enfield Police Department was invaluable throughout this investigation,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Mertz. “The extensive cooperation of the personnel in Global Security at Eli Lilly contributed to the overall success of this case. This multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional effort is an excellent example of the investigative efforts of law enforcement. The commitment and tenacity displayed throughout this investigation demonstrates a solid foundation of teamwork.”
“I am extremely happy that the alleged perpetrators in this case have been identified and arrested,” said Chief Sferrazza. “I believe this case shows that collaborative efforts between federal law enforcement officers and local law enforcement officers can yield successful results. I would like to thank the New Haven Office of the FBI for the spirit of cooperation between their agents and members of the Enfield Police Department.”
As alleged in the indictment, in January 2010, Amaury Villa flew from Miami to LaGuardia Airport, where he rented a car, and drove to Connecticut, where he checked into a hotel in Windsor, Conn. The following day, Eli Lilly surveillance video captured an individual looking through the front door of the warehouse in Enfield. Amaury Villa’s rental car was returned the next day at LaGuardia Airport, and Villa flew back to Miami.
In February 2010, it is alleged that an associate of Amaury Villa received an email that contained lease agreements for two tractor trailer trucks to be leased to Trans-USA, Inc., a company that lists Amaury Villa as its registered agent.
The indictment further alleges that, on March 12, 2010, the day before the burglary, two individuals purchased a particular combination of tools at a Home Depot in Flushing, N.Y. That same day, Amaury Villa flew from Miami to LaGuardia Airport, arriving in the early morning hours of March 13. Villa rented a car and, later that morning, checked into a hotel in Windsor, Conn. Between 10:22 p.m. and 10:32 p.m. on the night of March 13, 2010, individuals were captured on Eli Lilly warehouse surveillance video. After 10:30 p.m., individuals using the tools that had been purchased at Home Depot cut a hole in the roof of the warehouse and disabled parts of the facility’s security system. Over the next five hours, Amed Villa and others used a forklift inside the warehouse to load numerous boxes of pharmaceuticals, including Zyprexa, Prozac and Gemzar, into a tractor trailer truck. It is alleged that Amed Villa touched a water bottle that had been stored within the warehouse and left that bottle inside the warehouse after he departed.
The indictment further alleges that the tractor trailer departed Eli Lilly’s property at approximately 3:40 a.m. on March 14, 2010. Later that morning, Amaury Villa checked out of his hotel room in Windsor, and his rental car passed through the southbound toll on the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge at approximately 11:35 a.m. On March 15, 2010, Amaury Villa flew from LaGuardia Airport to Miami.
In the District of Connecticut, Amaury Villa and Amed Villa are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit theft from an interstate shipment, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years, and four counts of theft from an interstate shipment, each of which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.
The investigation of the Enfield warehouse theft was led by the FBI in New Haven and the Enfield Police Department, with the assistance of several other United States Attorney’s Offices and federal, state and local law enforcement agencies that have been investigating large-scale thefts of pharmaceuticals and other products. As a result of these investigations, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida today announced the unsealing of an indictment charging 11 individuals, including Amaury Villa, with various offenses related to the possession and sale of stolen products, including pharmaceuticals stolen from the Eli Lilly warehouse in March 2010. One count of the Southern District of Florida indictment charges Amaury Villa with possessing 4,654 boxes of the pharmaceuticals stolen from the Eli Lilly warehouse, including Zyprexa, Cymbalta, Prozac, Gemzar and other medicines.
As part of the investigation in the Southern District of Florida, on October 14, 2011, a search of a storage facility in Florida recovered pharmaceuticals that had been stolen from the Enfield warehouse.
In addition, the United States Attorney for the Central District of Illinois today announced the unsealing of an indictment in which Amed Villa is charged with the theft of more than 3,500 cases of cigarettes valued at more than $8 million from a warehouse in Tazewell County, Ill., on Jan. 24, 2010.
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
U.S. Attorney Fein noted that the investigation is ongoing.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Enfield Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anastasia E. King.
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