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Another Guilty Plea in Eli Lilly Heist

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) _ A Florida man pleaded guilty on Friday to participating in the 2010 theft of about $80 million in prescription drugs from an Eli Lilly warehouse in Connecticut.

The U.S. Attorney’s office said Amaury Villa, 39, a Cuban citizen who had been living in Miami, pleaded guilty in federal court in New Haven to one count of conspiracy, four counts of theft from an interstate shipment and one count of interstate transportation of stolen property.

A judge scheduled his sentencing for July 24. He could face up to 10 years on each theft-related charge, and five years on the conspiracy charge.

Authorities say the 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.

Villa’s brother, Amed Villa, pleaded guilty last year in Connecticut to theft and conspiracy charges related to the Enfield theft and other multimillion-dollar warehouse burglaries in Illinois, Virginia, Florida and Kentucky. He is awaiting sentencing.

Three other Florida men were charged last month with participating in the Connecticut theft.

Prosecutors say the thieves broke into the warehouse on the evening of March 13, 2010, by cutting a hole in the roof, then lowered themselves to the floor and disabled alarms before loading about 49 pallets of drugs into a getaway tractor trailer they had parked in the warehouse lot. The truck was driven to Florida, where investigators found the pharmaceuticals more than a year later in a storage facility.

Amaury Villa was first arrested in the case in May 2012, and pleaded guilty in federal court in Florida the following November to conspiracy and possession of stolen goods. He was sentenced there to 111/2 years in prison.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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