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Florida Man Charged In $80M Conn. Drug Heist To Be Arraigned

Drug Manufacturing

FILE (Credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A Florida man charged in the theft of about $80 million in prescription drugs from a Connecticut warehouse in 2010 plans to plead not guilty.

Jonathan J. Einhorn, attorney for Amed Villa, said Villa will plead not guilty when he is arraigned Thursday in U.S. District Court in New Haven.

In March 2010, thieves broke into the Enfield warehouse of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co. by scaling an exterior wall and cutting a hole in the warehouse roof, officials said. They then used a forklift to load pallets of drugs into a getaway vehicle.

Villa and his brother, Amaury, both citizens of Cuba residing in Miami, were arrested last month in Florida on federal theft and conspiracy charges related to their alleged participation in the theft, called the biggest in Connecticut history.

Villa allegedly had 4,654 boxes of drugs that were stolen from the Eli Lilly warehouse, according to one count of the indictment in the Southern District of Florida.

“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,”  U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut David Fein said in a statement last month.

Officials said the Connecticut robbery shared traits with warehouse thefts of pharmaceuticals in Richmond, Virginia.

Authorities there released surveillance photos of two suspects who scaled the walls of a warehouse owned by another giant drug-maker, GlaxoSmithKline, last August.

The stolen drugs were believed to be headed to the black market.

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(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)