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“Guilty” Plea Expected In $80 Million Drug Theft

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Prozac (Stephen Chermin/Getty Images)

Prozac (Stephen Chermin/Getty Images)

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By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN, Associated Press

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) _ A Florida man charged in the theft of about $80 million in prescription drugs from a Connecticut warehouse in 2010 plans to plead guilty, his attorney said Monday.

Amed Villa plans to plead guilty to federal theft and conspiracy charges, said his attorney, Jonathan J. Einhorn. A change of plea hearing scheduled for Monday was postponed until July 1.

“We just needed more time to prepare for the plea because of its complexity,” Einhorn said.

Thieves broke into the Enfield warehouse of pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly & Co. by scaling an exterior wall and cutting a hole in the roof. They used ropes to lower themselves to the floor and disabled alarms before using a forklift to load pallets of drugs into a getaway vehicle.

The stolen drugs, which included antidepressants, antipsychotics and a chemotherapy drug used to treat lung cancer, were recovered last year from a storage facility in Florida, authorities said.

Villa and his brother Amaury Villa were arrested last year in Florida on theft and conspiracy charges related to their alleged participation in the theft, called the biggest in Connecticut history.

Amaury Villa has pleaded not guilty in Connecticut.  He pleaded guilty in Florida last year to possessing drugs stolen from the warehouse and was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison.

His attorney, Maria Elena Perez, who did not represent him in the Florida case, has said she’s appealing the sentence and other issues in that case.

Amed Villa also faces warehouse theft charges in Kentucky, Virginia, Illinois and Florida, Einhorn said.

“Our hope is that we can work out a package involving all of the other states that have charged him with similar crimes that’s beneficial to him,” Einhorn said.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)    

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