A Lynwood man and six alleged co-conspirators have been indicted by a federal grand jury in a string of armed robberies of independent and “mom-and-pop” pharmacies across the Southland.
Tyrome Lewis, 24, also known as Boobie, was charged as the organizer and leader of a crew that allegedly committed at least 15 heists.
Prosecutors say the robbers stole a variety of prescription medications, targeting oxycodone in particular, planning to sell the stolen drugs on the black market.
Lewis is facing two counts each of interference with commerce by robbery, possession with intent to distribute oxycodone and using a firearm during a crime of violence and one count each of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery and conspiracy to distribute oxycodone,
Lewis, previously arrested and charged in a criminal complaint, is being held without bond and is set to be arraigned Aug. 22.
The superseding indictment filed Friday adds Lewis to a case in which 29-year-old Darrell Mitchell, of Long Beach, previously was charged. Mitchell is a fugitive and also faces conspiracy, narcotics and firearms charges.
Co-defendants in that original case include Mitchell’s brother Terrell, 31, and Deandre Bonney, 29, both from Compton.
Terrell Mitchell and Bonney have signed plea agreements admitting their involvement in a December 2018 robbery of a Glendale pharmacy and are expected to plead guilty in September.
Three more alleged co-conspirators have been charged in a separate indictment. Aaron Ganner, 27, Karon Lofton, 28, and Devon Jackson, 30, all of Compton, were indicted for their role in a June 12 robbery of a Torrance pharmacy in Torrance. The trio was arraigned Thursday in U.S. States District Court and ordered held without bond. A trial was scheduled for Oct. 8.
Prosecutors say the armed crew robbed stores in Bellflower, Cerritos, South Los Angeles, Westminster, Pico Rivera, Fullerton, Hawthorne, Huntington Park, Anaheim, Glendale, Riverside, Paramount and Claremont over an 18-month period that ended last month.
Lewis allegedly scouted the robbery locations and planned out the heists, including what medications to target, as well as supervising the robberies.
In each of the thefts, the robbers used a black, semi-automatic handgun to threaten employees, grabbed employee cell phones to prevent 911 calls, forced workers to open the medication vault, and placed stolen drugs in the pharmacy’s trash bags or trash cans, according to court documents.
Lewis also allegedly took part in the January 2018 burglary of a Walgreens pharmacy in Anthony, Texas.
If convicted of all charges, Lewis and Mitchell each would face a maximum sentence of life in federal prison.
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