News and Press Releases

THIRD PHARMACY BURGLAR PLEADS GUILTY IN CONNECTION WITH PHARMACY BURGLARY AND DRUG DISTRIBUTION SCHEME
Conspirators Broke into Pharmacies Throughout the Northwest and West Coast

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 18, 2007

JEREMY SWANSON, 30, of Marysville, 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. SWANSON was part of a criminal ring in Snohomish County responsible for burglarizing pharmacies in the Pacific Northwest and on the West Coast from 2004 to the present.

According to court documents, SWANSON admitted joining with other Snohomish County men in an unlawful agreement to burglarize pharmacies. In furtherance of this unlawful agreement, SWANSON participated in the burglary of pharmacies in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

In particular, on September 7, 2004, SWANSON and another individual burglarized a Bartell Pharmacy in Silver Lake, located at 11012 19th Avenue SE, in Everett, Washington. This burglary was similar to others committed by the group, occurring during late evening hours after the pharmacy closed. SWANSON severed telephone lines leading to the pharmacy in order to disable the remote alarm, while another co-conspirator conducted watch outside the pharmacy and maintained contact with SWANSON via cellular phone to warn of detection and possible police presence. Controlled substances belonging to the pharmacy inventory were located and collected, including stocks of oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, fentanyl, and amphetamines, among other Schedule II and Schedule III controlled substances. The drugs were thereafter sold and distributed to others. The replacement cost of the drugs to the pharmacy was approximately $13,851.74.

Additional burglaries admitted by SWANSON as part of his activities with the group included the March 19, 2004, burglary of a White Cross Pharmacy, in Sandpoint, Idaho, during which $5,520.00 worth of controlled substances were taken, and the August 7, 2004, burglary of a Pharmacy Express, in Cave Junction, Oregon, during which $5,391.74 worth of controlled substances were taken.

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.

Other individuals who have already pleaded guilty to committing burglaries in furtherance of the same scheme include Michael Hinkle, 39, and Ivan Stoutenburg, 31, both of Marysville, Washington. They are awaiting sentencing. Sentencing for SWANSON was set for May 11, 2007, at 10 a.m. in United States District Court before the Honorable Robert S. Lasnik.

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, SWANSON agreed to pay restitution to the pharmacies for damage done to the buildings during the burglaries and for the loss sustained by the pharmacies and their insurers due to the drugs taken.

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 Marysville, Washington, Police Department; and the Monroe, Washington Police Department.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ronald J. Friedman.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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