By John Christoffersen
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Three Florida men who federal authorities say stole about $80 million in prescription drugs from an Eli Lilly warehouse in Connecticut have been charged with conspiracy and theft, the U.S. attorney's office announced Tuesday.
The 2010 theft from the warehouse in Enfield — believed to be the largest theft in the state's history — included thousands of boxes of Zyprexa, Cymbalta, Prozac, Gemzar and other drugs, authorities say.
Two other men previously were charged in the case. The U.S. attorney's office Tuesday identified the three new defendants as Yosmany Nunez, 41, also known as "El Gato," of Southwest Ranches; Alexander Marquez, 40, of Hialeah; and Rafael Lopez, 49, of Miami.
Nunez's attorney declined comment; an attorney for Marquez did not immediately return a message left for comment.
Yoel Molina, an attorney who represented Lopez in Florida said, "The evidence will support our position he's an innocent man."
Nunez, Marquez and Lopez, all three Cuban citizens, were arrested last week in Florida. Amed Villa of Miami pleaded guilty last year to theft and conspiracy charges in the case. He is awaiting sentencing. His 39-year-old brother, Amaury Villa, pleaded not guilty in Connecticut and is awaiting trial.
The new indictment alleges that between January and March of 2010, Amaury Villa, Nunez, Marquez and Lopez and one other person conspired to steal pharmaceuticals from the Eli Lilly warehouse. Authorities say Villa, Nunez and others traveled from the Miami area to Connecticut to gather information for the heist. They allege that Lopez and another person traveled to Flushing, N.Y., and purchased tools to break into the warehouse then went to Connecticut.
On March 13, 2010, Marquez drove a tractor-trailer to the warehouse parking lot, authorities say. Later that evening, Villa and a co-conspirator used a ladder to climb onto the roof of the warehouse then cut a hole in the roof and dropped down into the building and disabled the alarm, prosecutors say.
With the truck backed up to the loading dock, Villa and others loaded up about 49 pallets of pharmaceuticals, the indictment says. Lopez allegedly was nearby and talking by cellphone with a co-conspirator who was inside the warehouse, the indictment says.
Authorities allege Marquez then drove the truck to Florida, where he met up with Villa, Nunez, Marquez and a co-conspirator, and they unloaded the drugs and put them in a storage building in the Miami area. Authorities say some of the stolen drugs were recovered Oct. 14, 2011, in a search of a storage facility.
The three men are charged with one count of conspiracy, which carries up to five years in prison; four counts of theft from an interstate shipment, each of which carries up to 10 years; and one count of interstate transportation of stolen property, which also carries up to 10 years.
Nunez and Marquez were detained pending hearings Thursday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Lopez was released on bond and is scheduled to be arraigned in Connecticut on May 1.
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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press