A Lynwood man suspected of running a seven-person crew that committed more than a dozen armed robberies of mom-and-pop pharmacies across the Southland pleaded not guilty Thursday to federal charges.
Tyrome “Boobie” Lewis, 24, and six co-defendants allegedly stole a variety of prescription medications — in particular, oxycodone — with the intent of selling the stolen drugs on the black market, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Lewis pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles federal court to one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, two counts of interference with commerce by robbery, two counts of possession with intent to distribute oxycodone and two counts of knowingly using and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.
Trial was set for Oct. 8 before U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt in downtown Los Angeles.
Over an 18-month period that ended just a few weeks ago, Lewis allegedly led an armed crew that robbed pharmacies in Bellflower, Cerritos, South Los Angeles, Westminster, Pico Rivera, Fullerton, Hawthorne, Huntington Park, Anaheim, Glendale, Riverside, Paramount and Claremont, according to the eight-count indictment.
Lewis allegedly picked out the robbery locations and provided details to the crew’s participants as to how the robberies should be conducted, including what medications to target. Lewis also traveled to the robbery locations in advance to scout the targeted stores and later oversaw the robberies as they were committed, the indictment alleges.
Prosecutors contend the robberies had features in common. In each of the heists, smaller stores were targeted, the stolen drugs were placed into the pharmacy’s trash bags, a black semi-automatic handgun was used to threaten and intimidate employees, employees were forced to open the medication vault, and employees’ cell phones were taken to prevent them from immediately calling police, according to court documents.
In addition to the Southland robberies, the indictment alleges that Lewis was involved in a burglary of a Walgreens pharmacy in Anthony, Texas, in January 2018.
Lewis is being held without bond in federal custody.
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