News and Press Releases

Conspirators Broke into Pharmacies Throughout the Northwest and West Coast

March 22, 2007

DALE MACDONALD, 24, of Marysville, Washington, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle in connection with a scheme to burglarize pharmacies in the Pacific Northwest and sell prescription narcotics. MACDONALD pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burglarize pharmacies, burglarizing pharmacies, and distributing narcotics stolen from the pharmacies. These offenses are punishable by up to twenty years imprisonment and a one million dollar fine.

According to court documents, MACDONALD admitted joining with other Snohomish County men in burglarizing pharmacies within a tri-state area, including Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. Specific burglaries acknowledged by MACDONALD included the January 23, 2004 burglary of Kusler’s Pharmacy in Snohomish, Washington, the January 6, 2006 burglary of Oak Tree Pharmacy in Salem, Oregon, the May 1, 2006 burglary of Sutherlin Drugs in Sutherlin, Oregon, the May 6, 2006 burglary of a Rite-Aid Pharmacy in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, and the June 15, 2006 burglary of a Bartell Pharmacy in Everett, Washington.

The burglaries were committed in common fashion during the late evening/early morning hours while the pharmacies were closed for business. The telephone lines leading to the pharmacies were cut by the burglars prior to breaking into each pharmacy in order to disable the pharmacy’s remote alarm. The burglars wore gloves so as not to leave fingerprints, and collected powerful narcotics inside the pharmacy, including thousands of pills containing oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, morphine, meperidine, fentanyl, and amphetamines, among other Schedule II and III controlled substances. The drugs were transported to the Marysville, Washington area, where they were sold to others. MACDONALD’s actions included that of breaking into the pharmacies, locating and removing drugs, and distributing the drugs to others, all of which he did in return for the money earned through the unlawful conduct.

As part of his plea agreement, MACDONALD agreed to forfeit any monies earned through such misconduct, and to pay restitution to each of the pharmacies for the physical damage caused, and for the value of the drugs taken.

Selling the stolen drugs can net a profit in excess of $100,000 per burglary. High strength oxycodone can sell for as much as $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. The non-prescribed use of such drugs has resulted in serious medical calamities to individuals in the State of Washington between 2004 and the present.

Other Snohomish County individuals who have already pleaded guilty in United States District Court to committing pharmacy burglaries in furtherance of this scheme, are Michael Hinkle, 39, Ivan Stoutenburg, 31, and Jeremy Swanson, 30 , James Phillips, 24, Kenneth Graham, 29, and David Palfrey, 30. Those who have pleaded guilty to distributing the drugs include Lyle Woods, 32, Jennifer Hinkle, 34, and Todd Downes, 27. In a related case, Christopher Johnson, II, 32, of Marysville, Washington pleaded guilty to being an unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm, an AR-15 type weapon, a felony violation of Title 18, United States Code, punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment.

Investigation is continuing and charges against additional participants in this criminal network are anticipated.

MACDONALD is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik on June 22, 2007 at 11:00 a.m.

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, Snohomish, Washington Police Department, Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, Police Department, Salem, Oregon, Police Department, and Sutherlin, Oregon 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.

Return to Top

USAO Homepage
USAO Briefing Room
Justice 101
Community Outreach

Engaging in outreach in order to prevent crime, respond to community needs, and promote good citizenship.

Victim Witness Assistance

Making sure that victims of federal crimes are treated with compassion, fairness and respect

Project Safe Neighborhoods

Our nation-wide commitment to reducing gun crime in America

Oficinas de los Fiscales de Estados Unidos En Español
Stay Connected with Twitter