November 21, 2019
Contact: Jennifer Vann
Phone Number: 312-353-7875
Chicago pharmacy technician sentenced to five years in prison for stealing opioids and selling them for profit
CHICAGO — A former technician at a Chicago pharmacy has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for stealing thousands of pills of hydrocodone and selling them for a profit.
Elizabeth Cruz worked at Allcare Discount Pharmacy, located in the 2700 block of West North Avenue in Chicago. From October 2015 to December 2017, Cruz and a co-defendant, Jacqueline Green, conspired to steal approximately 56,108 pills of hydrocodone and sell them outside the pharmacy. Cruz and Green received at least $10,800 in proceeds from the sale of the stolen pills.
Cruz concealed the theft by falsifying the pharmacy’s inventory to make it look like the pills had either not been received from the distributor or had been dispensed to patients.
Cruz, 35, of Stone Park, pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with the intent to deliver. U.S. District Judge Ronald A. Guzman imposed the prison sentence Wednesday in federal court in Chicago.
The investigation was conducted by the Chicago Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
“When trusted pharmacy employees illegally divert powerful and addictive pain medications for misuse, they put individuals and their families at increased risk of drug dependence and overdose,” said Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Chicago Division Robert J. Bell. “This strong prison sentence is recognition of the seriousness of the opioid crisis. The DEA will continue to aggressively bring all resources to bear, unilaterally and in cooperation with prosecutors and law enforcement partners, to save lives in the midst of the opioid epidemic.”
“The opioid epidemic has inflicted an unprecedented toll of suffering in Chicago and throughout the country,” said United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John R. Lausch, Jr. “The defendants in this case contributed to this crisis by making opiates available on the street to individuals who otherwise would not have access to them. Our office will continue to actively attack the opioid crisis from all investigative and prosecutorial angles.”
Green, of Chicago, pleaded guilty to the same charge as Cruz. Judge Guzman in July sentenced Green to a year and a day in federal prison.
The government in this case was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nani M. Gilkerson and David Rojas.