Arrests Made in $80M Eli Lilly Drug Theft

Two Cuban citizens living in Florida have been charged with their alleged involvement in the largest drug heist in Connecticut history, according to law enforcement officials.

Updated at 2:20 p.m.:

A quick trip to Enfield back in March 2010 for Cuban brothers Amaury Villa and Amed Villa has not ended the way they'd hoped.

The men were arrested and charged by federal authorities Thursday morning for their alleged participation in the state's largest drug heist, the theft of $80 million worth of pharmaceutical drugs from the Eli Lilly Co. distribution center in the Enfield industrial park.

“The charges announced today are the result of a sustained and thorough investigation by the FBI and the Enfield Police Department,” U.S. Attorney David Fein said in a news release.

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"As a result of their efforts, and our counterparts in Florida and across the country, we believe that a prolific cargo theft ring has been dismantled,” Fein said.

“I am extremely happy that the alleged perpetrators in this case have been identified and arrested,” Enfield Chief Carl Sferrazza said in the release.

"I believe this case shows that collaborative efforts between federal law enforcement officers and local law enforcement officers can yield successful results. I would like to thank the New Haven Office of the FBI for the spirit of cooperation between their agents and members of the Enfield Police Department,” the chief said.

Amaury, 37, and Amed, 46, traveled to Connecticut via New York where they allegedly purchased tools at a Flushing, N.Y., Home Depot that they used to cut a hole in the warehouse roof and disable the security system, according to the US Attorney's Office.

Federal officials alleged that Amed Villa "touched a water bottle that had been stored within the warehouse and left that bottle inside the warehouse after he departed."

The day before the burglary Amaury, and possibly Amed, checked into a Windsor hotel, where Amaury stayed two months prior. Amaury checked out of the hotel later in the morning the day of the theft.

U.S. Attorney Fein said that the investigation is ongoing and is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Enfield Police Department. Asst. US Attorney Anastasia E. King is prosecuting the case.

Original story:

Officials from the US Attorney's Office, the FBI and the Enfield Police Department are about to unveil details of their investigation into the theft of $80 million worth of eight different types of prescription drugs from the Eli Lilly Co. distribution center.

The officials have called a 2 p.m. press conference at U.S. Attorney's Office in New Haven. Further details have not been made available as of yet, except that the individuals who are being charged in the theft will not appear in court today.

According to the Hartford Courant, the March 14, 2010 theft was one of the largest of several burglaries that occurred at around the same time.

The thieves gained access to the warehouse by cutting a hole in the roof and using ropes to drop down into the building, according to the Courant.

At the time, Lilly officials said that they would work closely with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. They also said that because of the strict regulation of pharmaceuticals in the country it would be “extremely difficult for stolen product to make it to patients through legitimate channels.”

Examples of the drugs taken include Cymbalta and Prozac.


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