Two of the eight men involved in a conspiracy to burglarize numerous pharmacies throughout the southeast United States, including Sav-Rite Pharmacy and Stephanie’s Down Home Pharmacy in Corbin, Kentucky, were sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in London, Kentucky.
Randy Stiefel and Jamie Sweeton pleaded guilty to their respective parts in the conspiracy at separate hearings in May.
At Tuesday’s hearing prosecutors recommended that Stiefel receive a five-year prison sentence. Stiefel’s attorney, Greta Price-Atherton, ask the court to consider a three-year sentence, noting her client’s lack of a criminal history and limited involvement in the conspiracy.
Testimony in the trial of co-conspirators James “Ronnie” Jones and Tony Britton revealed that Stiefel served as a lookout and drove the trail car during a number of the burglaries.
According to area police, video surveillance from each pharmacy shows the masked men popping the lock on the front door to gain entry to the building.
Once inside, the burglars swept the drugs off of the shelves and into large storage tubs.
Atherton noted that Stiefel was not involved in the burglary at Stephanie’s, which occurred in 2014.
Finally, Atherton told the court that Stiefel had no part in selling the stolen drugs, which included Hydrocodone and Oxycodone.
“He really is a different type of individual from those who normally appear in federal court,” Atherton said of Stiefel. “I do not believe you run into many men with the characteristics of Mr. Stiefel.”
Atherton said her client understands the case will involve a substantial amount of restitution and that he will do everything in his power to pay his portion.
“I apologize to everyone,” Stiefel said when given the opportunity to address the court. “This is not who I am. I can’t explain why I did it, but I vow never to do it again.”
“Ultimately, you knew better,” U.S. District Court Judge Gregory VanTatenhove told Stiefel before sentencing him to five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
Prosecutors told the court that while Sweeton also served as a lookout and drove a trail car during multiple burglaries, but has a criminal history that includes drug possession and DUI. Based on that, prosecutors recommended 128 months (10.6 years) in prison.
Sweeton’s attorney, Christy Love, told the court that her client was involved in the conspiracy because of the drugs as opposed to the money.
“He was operating out of addiction instead of greed,” Love said.
While initially suffering the effects of withdrawals, Love told the court that Sweeton has been receiving help for his addiction was incarcerated.
“I have seen a tremendous change,” Love told the court.
“He wants to face up to what he has done,” she said of Sweeton.
Love asked the court to consider a sentence of 108 months (nine years), adding that her client would prefer to serve his time at the Federal Medical Complex in Lexington where he has previously been housed and where he benefited from being able to help with the care of other inmates.
“This has been an intervention for me, or I would be a dead man now,” Sweeton said when given the opportunity to address the court.
VanTatenhove told Sweeton that while he does not believe he is currently a danger to the community, an addicted Jamie Sweeton would be.
One of the purposes of the prison sentence would be to allow Sweeton to continue to receive help to overcome his addiction.
“It is a fight that is won every day,” VanTatenhove said of addiction. “We want to try to provide you as many tools as possible.”
VanTatenhove said while he doesn’t believe Sweeton’s role was aggravating in any way, the circumstances called for a significant period of incarceration.
Sweeton was sentenced to 108 months followed by three years of supervised release.
As to the issue of restitution, VanTatenhove said that would be addressed after all of the defendants had been sentenced.
Robert Nunley, Christopher Land and Anthony Bosio are scheduled to be sentenced on January 8. Kenneth Britton is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 12. James Ronald Jones and Tony Britton are scheduled to appear for sentencing on Feb. 19.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration first connected Nunley to the burglary at Stephanie’s after they found one of the pill bottles at his home in Grundy County, Tennessee, in 2016.
Nunley was indicted in U.S. District Court in in Aug. 2016.
At the time, Nunley was incarcerated in the Lincoln County, Tennessee Jail on a state charge in connection with a 2012 pharmacy burglary in Shelbyville, Tennessee.
A superseding indictment, handed down in Dec. 2016, named Christopher Land, 56, Jamie Sweeton, 43, Anthony Bosio, 45, Kenneth Britton, 50, and Randy Stiefel, 54, in connection with the burglary at Stephanie’s.
A second superseding indictment returned on Nov. 9, 2017 named Jones and Tony Britton as additional co-conspirators.
In all, the conspirators have been tied to numerous burglaries in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Illinois and Indiana between 2010 and 2015.