Both implicated in pharmacy robberies
A second defendant facing federal charges of conspiracy to break into numerous pharmacies throughout Kentucky and Tennessee has filed a motion for re-arraignment.
According to a court order entered on February 27, 39-year-old Kenneth Britton of Whitwell, is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in London, Kentucky, for a re-arraignment hearing at 1 p.m., on March 9.
Britton and seven co-defendants (Robert Nunley, James Ronald Jones, Randy Stiefel, Jamie Sweeton, Christopher Land, Tony Britton, and Anthony Bosio) were indicted in 2016, in connection with the burglaries, including the ones that occurred at Stephanie’s Down Home Pharmacy on January 26, 2014, and Sav-Rite Pharmacy on March 15, 2015, both in Kentucky. These burglaries were caught on surveillance video.
Two masked individuals pulled up to Sav-Rite Pharmacy on Master Street in a black Range Rover SUV. After circling the parking lot, the vehicle pulled crossways in the parking lot just feet from the door.
One of the burglars, who is described as a white male about six feet tall and weighing over 300 pounds, is seen jumping out of the driver’s seat, going up to the front door and using a crowbar to pry it open. The other man, who is described as a white male, approximately 5’8”, who had been waiting with the back seat door open, is seen jumping out with a blue tote and entering the store while the driver remained outside.
Video from inside the store shows the other man busting open a locked cabinet containing narcotics and cleaning it out into the tote.
At the time, Corbin Police Chief Rusty Hedrick, who was then a detective investigating the incident, said there had been three similar burglaries within two months of the Save-Rite burglary. Video surveillance from the burglary at Stephanie’s Pharmacy on Master Street on January 26, 2014, shows a white Chrysler 300 sedan parked in front of the store as the masked men enter the store and sweep the shelves of drugs.
“They popped the lock on the front door of the store to get in and are in and out in less than three minutes,” said then Knox County Sheriff Chief Deputy Derek Eubanks, who added that two men are seen grabbing the drugs while a third remains outside as a lookout. The burglars swept the drugs into large storage tubs, ignoring the cash register.
Hedrick said agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, who had developed a case connecting Nunley to the Sav-Rite burglary, contacted him in mid-2016.
“Pill bottles taken during the burglary at Stephanie’s had been found at Nunley’s home when the DEA searched it,” Hedrick said.
At the time the initial indictment was returned in August, Nunley was incarcerated in the Lincoln County, Tennessee, jail on charges stemming from a 2012 burglary at a pharmacy in Shelbyville.
“They went in and popped the lock and left with quite a few pills, Shelbyville Police Lt. Brian Crews told The Grundy County Herald at the time of the burglary.
Crews said law enforcement believes Nunley is part of a group responsible for a number of pharmacy burglaries throughout the Southeast.
The Grundy County Tennessee Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Shelbyville Police Department took Bosio, Land, Sweeton, Britton, and Stiefel into custody on arrest warrants stemming from the indictment.
Bosio pleaded guilty in February to his part in the burglaries, admitting to selling some of the stolen pills.
“The defendant obtained pills containing controlled substances from his co-conspirators, knowing that his co-conspirators had stolen those pills from various pharmacies through the southeastern United States, including in the Eastern District of Kentucky. The defendant sold those stolen pills and shared the proceeds of such sales with his co-conspirators,” Bosio’s plea agreement states.
The remaining defendants were scheduled to go to trial on March 19. However, that date has been continued until May 1 as the court considers Tony Britton’s motion to suppress evidence in the case.
In the motion, filed February 5, Britton asks the court to suppress the search warrant issued to DTC Wireless on November 16, 2015, which was issued by the General Court of Justice District/Superior Court Division, State of North Carolina, Pope County Judge Mark E. Powell, arguing that it is invalid as it violates his constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizures.
Tony Britton is accused of driving a trail car during the burglary of Sephanie’s Downhome Pharmacy in Corbin, Kentucky.
According to the motion, the warrant permitted law enforcement to ping Britton’s cell phone, which revealed that Britton was in that area of Corbin around the time of the burglary.
“At this time, a review of the affidavit shows that there is no question that the allegations and the affidavit are insufficient and do not provide probable cause concerning Tony Britton,” the motion states noting that it offers nothing to connect Tony Britton to any of the burglaries.
“There is no description of the perpetrators given,” the motion states, adding that it is only his association to co-defendant Robert Nunley and statements provided by co-defendant Anthony Bosio that connects Britton to the crime.
In addition, attorney Bryan Sergeant argues in the motion that a North Carolina judge does not have the jurisdiction to issue a search warrant to get records for a Tennessee resident without some allegation that he was in some way attached to the robbery that occurred in North Carolina.