LOS ANGELES – A Lynwood man was found guilty today of federal robbery charges for organizing and leading a crew that committed 15 armed robberies of independent, “mom-and-pop” pharmacies across Southern California, with the intent of illegally selling the stolen prescription medication.
Tyrome Lewis, 26, a.k.a. “Boobie,” was found guilty of all eight felony charges he faced after a two-day bench trial in April. Lewis has been in federal custody since his arrest in July 2019.
In a ruling issued today, United States District Judge John A. Kronstadt found Lewis guilty of one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, two counts of interference with commerce by robbery, two counts of possession with intent to distribute oxycodone, and two counts of knowingly using and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.
According to the evidence presented at trial, from May 2018 to July 2019, Lewis conspired with others to commit 15 armed robberies. Lewis selected the pharmacies to be robbed, targeting smaller pharmacies to steal oxycodone and other similar prescription medication. He also assigned the roles from the crew members, and then he served as a lookout while co-conspirators committed the robberies. Following the pharmacy robberies, Lewis and others would sell the stolen prescription medication on the black market.
The court found the Lewis-led armed crew – dubbed the “Oxy Bandits” by law enforcement – robbed pharmacies in Glendale, Bellflower, Paramount, Cerritos, Hawthorne, South Los Angeles, Pico Rivera, Huntington Park, Claremont, Westminster, Fullerton, Anaheim, and Riverside.
Each of the robberies shared a common modus operandi, including targeting smaller pharmacies, placing the stolen prescription drugs into the pharmacy’s trash bags or trash cans, using a black semi-automatic handgun to threaten and intimidate store employees, and forcing employees to open the medication vault.
Today’s guilty verdict of Lewis for his role in this series of armed pharmacy robberies is part of a broader investigation of armed pharmacy robberies resulting from a partnership between the FBI and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Through this partnership, the United States Attorney’s Office has charged 21 individuals for their roles in various pharmacy robberies. Since the investigation began in 2019, 19 individuals, including Lewis, have been convicted for their participation in pharmacy robberies, while two defendants await trial.
Judge Kronstadt has scheduled a September 23 sentencing hearing, at which time Lewis will face a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison.
The FBI and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigated this matter, with assistance from the Claremont Police Department and the Glendale Police Department.
Assistant United States Attorneys Jeffrey M. Chemerinsky and Joseph D. Axelrad of the Violent and Organized Crime Section, and Assistant United States Attorney Peter Dahlquist of the Riverside Branch Office, prosecuted this case.