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Oxycontin robbery hits Lebanon drugstore
Nov 04, 2005 12:00 am
November 3, 2005
Lebanon police – who recently saw an armed robber crisscross the city in a series of four successful stick-ups – are now seeking a gunman who fled a pharmacy with a massive cache of powerful, highly addictive narcotics.
No arrests appear on the horizon three days after an armed robber fled WalGreens pharmacy with less than 2,000 Oxycontin and Oxycodone tablets, a pair of extremely addictive painkillers with a street value some place at up to $50-$100 each.
The robbery was captured on the store's videotape security system, according to reports on file at the Lebanon Police Department, none of which mention potential suspects or witnesses in the hold-up, reported at 8 p.m. Sunday.
The robber specifically demanded the types of narcotics he obtained in the robbery, the reports state.
In late August and early September, Lebanon police watched helplessly as a robber darted around the city, successfully fleeing four different markets with undisclosed amounts of cash.
The robberies apparently remain unsolved despite the presence of video security systems in at least one store and a partial description of a vehicle possibly used by the suspect.
Though the amount of cash successfully stolen in the robberies remains unknown, it likely pales in comparison to the street value of the drugs stolen in Sunday's armed robbery, law enforcement veterans said.
Several officials contacted about the $10 per pill estimate of the drugs contained in LPD reports indicated that amount was almost laughably low with the pills routinely selling on the streets at prices ranging from $50- $100 each.
Oxycontin, in particular, has developed a reputation as a highly addictive drug. In some circles dubbed 'Hillbilly Heroin,' it has been blamed for hundreds of deaths in the southeastern United States since it was introduced to the marketplace several years ago.
One local veteran of the so-called war on drugs said the sudden influx of 2,000 pills into Wilson County's drug culture creates law enforcement and public safety worries.
"If you're telling me that 2,000 of those are all at once hitting our streets, then yes, obviously we've got some concerns," Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe said. "These are highly addictive, mood altering, life changing drugs. With the possible exception of meth, it's probably the most dangerous thing out there right now."
Ashe said his department was not notified of the robbery at the time it occurred, but he has since discussed the stick-up with narcotics officers.
"That large of a quantity is almost certain to make its way into the hands of the street dealers," he said. "We have a very efficient, very well-trained narcotics unit and hopefully they'll be able to find a way to arrest some of these people and get at least part of these drugs off the street."
Senior Staff Writer Brooks Franklin can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 14 or by e-mail at email@example.com.