News and Press Releases

LAKEWOOD MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO PHARMACY ROBBERY
Defendant was Getaway Driver

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 4, 2009

GARY M. JONES, 21, of Lakewood, Washington, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to robbing a Walgreens Pharmacy in Lakewood, Washington. He faces a sentence of imprisonment of up to twenty years and a $250,000 fine.

In pleading guilty, JONES acknowledged that on March 31, 2009, he and another individual planned to rob a pharmacy in order to acquire oxycodone. Oxycodone is a highly abused and addictive Schedule II controlled substance.

JONES agreed to act as get-away driver. In furtherance of the plan, JONES drove to the pharmacy and waited in the vehicle while his accomplice, Brett Mitchell, also under federal indictment, entered the Walgreen’s Pharmacy at 9505 Bridgeport Way Southwest in Lakewood, and presented a note to the pharmacist demanding oxycodone. After receiving several bottles of oxycodone pills, Mitchell left the pharmacy, and jumped into the trunk of JONES’ waiting vehicle. JONES then sped away. The police encountered JONES’ vehicle several miles away. Mitchell was found in the vehicle trunk. 1,800 oxycodone pills, in various strengths, were seized from the car. Following arrest, JONES confessed to the above robbery and acknowledged being addicted to oxycodone.

Pharmacies, clinics, and hospitals, where controlled substances are stored constitute protected federal facilities, and burglarizing or robbing such facilities constitutes a violation of federal law.

Washington is experiencing an increasing level of unlawful distribution and consumption of highly addictive prescription drugs, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, and federal law enforcement will continue to prosecute such matters, in conjunction with state law enforcement authorities, in an effort to address this problem.

In addition to pleading guilty, JONES agreed to pay restitution to the pharmacy in the amount of $9,168.00 for the replacement cost of the drugs taken.

JONES is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Ronald B. Leighton on August 28, 2009, in Tacoma, Washington.

This case is part of a Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Prescription Drug Initiative focused upon the unlawful proliferation of pharmaceutical controlled substances and the targeting of pharmacies within the Western District of Washington and elsewhere. The case was investigated by the Lakewood and Puyallup Police Departments in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration Drug Diversion Unit.

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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