Men sentenced for conspiring to rob Middletown pharmacy

Two Indianapolis men appeared in U.S. District Court today and received prison sentences for their part in a plan to rob a Middletown pharmacy of morphine and oxycodone on April 29, 2017, with the intent of selling the drugs on the street.

MORE: Man admits guilt in his role of Middletown pharmacy robbery

Eric Lamont Bates, 20, was sentenced to eight years in prison, and Yasar Jamal Burnett, 18, was sentenced to six years in prison. Both men had previously pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting the robbery and possessing with the intent to distribute morphine and oxycodone.

MORE: Feds indict 5 for robbing Middletown pharmacies

In May law enforcement began to make its case when a federal grand jury returned indictments charging several men with robbing two Middletown pharmacies and stealing prescription drugs including morphine, oxycodone and hydrocodone for the purpose of selling the drugs on the street.

The grand jury charged two Dayton men, Calvin Cavonte Tribble and Savon Anthony Davis, with attempted robbery of a pharmacy in Middletown on April 18, 2017 and robbing the pharmacy on April 19.

In a separate indictment, the grand jury charged Bates and Burnett. Subsequently in July and September seven others were indicted allegedly conspiring to rob pharmacies in Sidney, Fairfield, Middletown, Franklin, Hamilton, Westerville, Trotwood, Dayton, Oakwood, Kettering, Beavercreek, Moraine, Vandalia, Union Township and Cincinnati.

Benjamin C. Glassman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division and Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw announced the sentences that were handed down by U.S. District Judge Walter H. Rice today.

Glassman explained that the scheme was part of the alleged conspiracy in which defendants would approach the pharmacy counter at CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and Best Pharmacy locations as if to turn in a prescription to be filled.

But, the slip of paper included a note that this was an armed robbery and the pharmacist would be harmed if they did not comply. The note demanded pharmacy employees to fill two bags with a list of controlled substances identified by name, amount and prescription dosage.

“This offense was an attempt by Bates and Burnett to make quick money,” Glassman said. “The defendants were in and out of the Rite Aid Pharmacy in less than five minutes. During the course of those few minutes, though, they used physical force and fear to ensure compliance from their victims, manhandling three female employees of the store to obtain narcotics that they could sell on the street.”