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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut

Monday, December 5, 2016

Citizen of Cuba Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison for Eli Lilly Theft, Additional Multimillion Dollar Burglaries

AMED VILLA, 51, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to 84 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release, for his role in the theft of pharmaceuticals from an Eli Lilly Company warehouse and storage facility in Enfield, Conn., and similar warehouse burglaries in Illinois, Virginia, Florida and Kentucky. 

According to court documents and statements made in court, in early 2010, Amaury Villa, Amed Villa, Yosmany Nunez and Alexander Marquez planned to steal pharmaceuticals from the Eli Lilly Company warehouse and storage facility in Enfield.  The investigation revealed that, prior to the theft, Amaury Villa and Nunez traveled from the Miami area to Connecticut to gather information about the warehouse facility and the surrounding area.  Shortly before the theft, Amed Villa and Rafael Lopez traveled to Flushing, N.Y., where they purchased tools needed to break into the warehouse facility, and then traveled to Connecticut.

In the evening of March 13, 2010, individuals involved in the theft dropped off a ladder in the rear parking lot of the warehouse facility and left.  That same night, Marquez drove a tractor trailer to the facility.  Thereafter, Amed Villa and Amaury Villa carried the ladder to the building, checked for security in the front area, climbed onto the roof, used the tools Amed Villa and Lopez had purchased to cut a hole in the facility roof, dropped down into the facility and disabled the alarm system.  Amaury Villa, Amed Villa and Nunez then loaded more than 40 pallets of pharmaceuticals into the tractor trailer, which had been backed up to the loading dock of the warehouse. 

The pallets of pharmaceuticals included thousands of boxes Zyprexa, Cymbalta, Prozac, Gemzar and other medicines, valued at approximately $60 million.

The individuals who participated in the theft split up in Connecticut.  Marquez then drove the tractor trailer to Florida, where he subsequently reunited with Amaury Villa, Amed Villa and Nunez so the pharmaceuticals could be transferred from the tractor trailer into self-storage units in the Miami area.

On October 14, 2011, law enforcement authorities searched a storage facility in Florida and recovered pharmaceuticals that had been stolen from the Enfield warehouse.

Subsequent investigation revealed that Amed Villa and others also stole more than $13.3 million in pharmaceuticals from the GlaxoSmithKline warehouse in Colonial Heights, Virginia, in August 2009; more than $8 million in cigarettes and a cargo trailer from a warehouse in East Peoria, Illinois, in January 2010; approximately $7.8 million in cellular telephones and multimedia tablets from the Quality One Wireless warehouse in Orlando, Florida, in January 2011, and more than $1.5 million in cigarettes from the Coremark Cigarette Warehouse in Leitchfield, Kentucky, in March 2011.

During each of the thefts, Amed Villa and his co-conspirators gained entry into the warehouse through the roof, disabled the alarm system and loaded the stolen goods into tractor trailers.  Amed Villa’s DNA was identified on items discarded during the thefts in Connecticut, Illinois, Florida and Virginia.

Amed Villa was charged with the additional thefts in the Eastern District of Virginia, Central District of Illinois, Middle District of Florida and Western District of Kentucky, respectively, and the cases were transferred to the District of Connecticut for further prosecution.

Amed Villa, a citizen of Cuba who last resided in Miami, has been detained since his arrest on May 3, 2012.  He subsequently pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit theft from an interstate shipment and five counts of theft from an interstate shipment. 

Amaury Villa, Nunez, Marquez and Lopez also pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the Eli Lilly warehouse theft and have been sentenced.

The loss attributed to Amed Villa is approximately $90 million.  The exact amount of restitution to be ordered will be determined after further submissions by the parties.

The investigation of the Connecticut warehouse theft has been led by the FBI in New Haven and the Enfield Police Department, the investigation of the Illinois theft has been led by ATF and the East Peoria Police Department, the investigation of the Virginia theft has been led by the FBI, the investigation of the Florida theft has been led by the FBI and the Orlando Police Department, and the investigation of the Kentucky theft has been led by ATF.

This matter is being prosecuted in the District of Connecticut by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anastasia E. King and Douglas P. Morabito, with the valuable assistance of members of the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Central District of Illinois, Eastern District of Virginia, Middle District of Florida and Western District of Kentucky.

Updated December 5, 2016