Swift MLPD work nets two arrests in pharmacy burglary


On Tuesday, October 29 the Mammoth Lakes Police Department (MLPD) arrested a suspect in the recent burglary of the Von’s Pharmacy in the Minaret Mall.

After following up on leads, MLPD Detective Doug Hornbeck and Officer Andy Lehr served a search warrant at St. Moritz Condos, #13.  They recovered evidence at that residence and arrested Christopher James Powell, 21, of Mammoth Lakes.  Powell was a Von’s employee and had been working as a cashier in the satellite store that included the pharmacy.

MONET agents assisted in the investigation and service of the search warrant.  They also arrested Randy Rojas, 27, of Mammoth Lakes at the same residence.

Powell was booked into the Mono County Jail.  His charges are 459 PC/Burglary, 135 PC/Destroying or Concealing Evidence and an outstanding warrant from San Bernardino.  He is currently being held at the Mono County jail and his bail has been set at $20,000.

Rojas was released on a citation for 135 PC/Destroying or Concealing Evidence, 11364 H&S/Possession of Controlled Substance Paraphernalia and 11357(b) H&S/Possession of Marijuana.

According to Mammoth Lakes Police Chief Dan Watson, prescription drug abuse has become an epidemic and statistics show that approximately one third of those affected are juveniles between 12-17 years old.  The growth in prescription drug abuse has resulted in a large increase in overdose deaths nationwide.  The abuse of prescription pain pills has increased heroin abuse because it is cheaper than buying pills.  Many prescription drugs are diverted into the streets via thefts from pharmacies.  Prescriptions drugs, especially pain killers can be just as addicting as heroin, but are generally more expensive on the illegal market.  So, those who have become addicted to prescription drugs frequently begin using heroin.  The Mammoth Lakes Police Department, along with our allied law enforcement agencies and MONET, will continue to aggressively work to combat the illegal diversion of prescription drugs into our communities.




23 Responses to Swift MLPD work nets two arrests in pharmacy burglary

  1. Wayne Deja October 30, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    Just because prescription drugs were stolen,especially in this case where it involved an employee with easy access and knowledge of the pharmacy,doesn’t mean the ones that (allegedly) committed this crime are addicted to prescription drugs…..in my “old life”,I knew of a person that did this very same thing at a pharmacy in Salem,Oregon,which he also worked at,knowing the drugs he stole were going to be easy to turn-over,and then able to buy his own “drugs-of-choice”,which happened to be meth and marijuana.

    • TBone November 1, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

      Wayne, I’m not sure what the point of your comment is, other than to once again beat the dead horse of refer madness. You’re doing no one a service by discounting the seriousness of prescription drug addiction and it’s related crime.

      Sometimes it’s best to just say nothing.

      • Pedro November 1, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

        Wayne’s comment is no discount of seriousness of problem. Fact that these meds are worth stealing shows problem whether thief is addicted to anything or not. Good chance thief was addict, but true things are bartered on street. Dealers often sell drugs they don’t use while they are addicted to something else. Form of inventory control. Our insane prohibition of cannabis puts it into the same black market.

        Truly desperate addicts will steal ANYTHING they might trade for next fix, easier to steal your wife’s wedding ring than to mug your connection. Or maybe thief’s landlord will accept meds for rent.

        • Wayne Deja November 2, 2013 at 8:04 am #

          Pedro…Thing is,maybe back in the “olden days”,marijuana wasn’t seen,or could be classified as an “addictive drug”….but now,in these days,with the additives and increased potency,it can be for some….and can become a problem for those that use it on a daily,regular basis for a lot of reasons…it no longer sells for $10.00 an ounce,like it did in the early 80’s…spending $10.00 for a month or so of smoking weed didn’t tax ones budget…nowdays,when someone is spending over $60.00 or $80.00 (or more)A WEEK for the same ammount,that can add up.Don’t know what an ounce goes for in 2013,but do know an eighth can run $40.00 or $50.00…..and removing the “black market” tag from it won’t change that any,unless it goes TOTALLY legal to buy and grow and sell….which ain’t NEVER going to happen.When someone is spending over $200.00 a month on marijuana,it can open the door to activities that include theft of property and other things in order to purchase their weed….and especially for the heavy users that have trouble finding and/or keeping a job,paying their bills,or for those that aren’t still living at home with Mom and Dad,a rent bill each month,which also isn’t the same as it was back in the early 80’s…

          • TBone November 2, 2013 at 10:42 am #

            Wayne, you’re talking about things you know nothing about. Specifically, what “additives” are you referring to? And please point to a study that shows pot is actually stronger now than it was in the 70’s. There’s no evidence that shows this, just hype from the industry and prohibitionists fools like yourself.

            The fact is that weed is the least addictive of controlled substances and the least harmful, and yet you insist on associating it with deadly, highly addictive drugs that are ruining people’s lives.

            Here’s an article by the National Cancer Institute regarding the medical benefits of cannabis, including the potential for curing certain types of cancer.

            But please, continue with your diversionary comments, on any article here that has anything even remotely related to drugs, spewing your ex-addict anecdotal BS on the horrors of the pot.

          • Benett Kessler November 2, 2013 at 10:54 am #

            Another quick note – there is the phenomenon of drugs being habituating rather than addicting. The sensation becomes a habit for some though not chemically addictive.

          • Wayne Deja November 2, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

            TBone……It’s obvious your one of those in favor of legalizing marijuana to the point to where if they had their way,you could walk into a quick-stop market and purchase an ounce of weed along with their bottle of pepsi and a pack of skittles….You can stick to your “facts and studies” how marijuana prevents and cures cancer…. and how healthier the World would be if people puffed on a joint first thing in the morning along with taking their one-a-day vitamins…but those that have used….and in some cases,abused the drug,and those that have had to deal with some of them,either having to work with, or be living near someone that abuses and deals pot,they know the problems that can cause.As far as there being no “study” that shows pot is stronger now than it was back in the 70’s or 80’s,GIVE ME A BREAK!!!…If your a pot user,and was a pot user back then,if you can honestly say there is no difference,your the fool….not me.

          • Pedro November 2, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

            Wayne, agree that chronic use of anything to avoid life is a problem, especially for young people, as it retards emotional maturity. But as Bennett said, not all substance habits lead to addiction.

            While the overall strength of weed on the street has gone up, there has always been a range from virtually no psychoactive properties to very strong. You may have smoked $10 weed on early 80s, but top shelf California home grown, and imports could hit $25 an eighth. Adjusted for inflation, weed is same or cheaper now. And don’t forget all those stems and seeds.

          • Mark November 3, 2013 at 8:12 am #

            “there is the phenomenon of drugs being habituating rather than addicting”

            I think they call it psychological dependence.

            Golf & Skiing is are good examples. .

            All while cigarettes kill daily and remain legal.

          • Mongo The Idiot November 3, 2013 at 9:25 am #

            I personally like how the DSM separates abuse and dependence.
            The DSM breaks it down very clearly and makes it easy to see where a person is in relation to the scale with plain language.
            The link is for alcohol, if you search it you will see breakdowns for other substances.

            Adapted from American Psychiatric Association (APA). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision. Washington, DC: APA, 2000.

            FYI for you users; Hydrocodone is only a small part of a Vicodin tablet. Many users with high tolerance who take dozens of these at a time to get high risk death due to overdose on the primary ingredient Acetaminophen.

          • MajorTom November 3, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

            The drug thing just seems like a way for us to divide each other up and separate ourselves from each other. You have the guy who likes his beer, sitting around with the gal who likes her caffeine, and with the one who likes her prozak, hating on the guy who likes his pot. Drugs have been part of the human condition since our ancestors notice that fruit that fell of the tree and rotted a bit caused a nice buzz. None of these people necessarily hurt anyone else or deserve to go to jail just because their particular drug is not favored by the other drug users.

          • Mongo The Idiot November 3, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

            I guess it’s possible to overdo anything, even wisdom.

  2. Dingo October 30, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    Good job MLPD!
    I guess I’d be lying if I said I have no sympathy for these two suspects, I hope they get the help they need.

  3. ClearWithdrawal.com October 30, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    Wayne — while your experience may be true, it is a rare one.

    People do desperate things for opiates and opiate addiction is extremely powerful. Anyone who has ever had an opiate addiction knows how absolutely gut-wrenching awful it is to go through withdrawals.

    There’s an epidemic of prescription drug abuse in America and it’s extremely sad because these kids who have a viicodin or oxycontin addiction are physiologically equivalent to heroin addicts.

  4. Desert Tortoise October 30, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    I just don’t understand. I will use vicodin sparingly after a surgery but really detest the way it fuzzes my mind. I don’t like that feeling at all. What is the appeal?

    • Big Rick OBrien October 31, 2013 at 12:06 am #

      Not to mention the VERY unpleasant havoc that it wreaks on your digestive system. THAT pain was almost as bad as the pain the vicodin was relieving. just sayin’…

  5. Sean October 30, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

    I hope the defendants get the help they need – IN PRISON!

  6. Trouble October 30, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

    They need to go after the doctors pushing this crap on our kids.

    • Mark October 31, 2013 at 9:14 am #

      LEO’s need to roll the SWAT vehicle up to the doctors office bash in the front and shoot the doctor like they do with other drug dealers.

      • Pedro November 1, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

        Yeah, but they can’t risk getting Rush Limbaugh in crossfire.

    • Desert Tortoise October 31, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

      Excuse me but though surgeries are, for me, thankfully few and very far between, I very much appreciate the availability of such pharmeceuticals to take the edge off the pain so I can rest comfortably and recuperate. Don’t blithely assume all such meds are abused. Most are not. Or would you prefer people live in terrible pain after injury or a surgery?

      • Mark November 4, 2013 at 7:32 am #

        just keep in mind pharmeceuticals kill more people then all other drugs combined. So I will asume such meds have a high reocrd of abuse.

  7. ferdinand lopez November 1, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

    hang em high


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