A Lynwood man who organized and led a crew – dubbed the “Oxy Bandits” by law enforcement – that committed 15 armed robberies of independent “mom-and-pop” pharmacies throughout Southern California was sentenced today to 240 months in federal prison.
Tyrome Lewis, 26, a.k.a. “Boobie,” was sentenced by United States District Judge John A. Kronstadt. After a two-day bench trial in April, Judge Kronstadt found Lewis guilty of one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, two counts of interference with commerce by robbery, two counts of possession with intent to distribute oxycodone, and two counts of knowingly using and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.
From May 2018 to July 2019, Lewis conspired with others to commit 15 armed robberies. Lewis selected the pharmacies to be robbed, targeting smaller pharmacies to steal oxycodone and other similar prescription medication. He also assigned the roles from the crew members, and then he served as a lookout while co-conspirators committed the robberies. Following the pharmacy robberies, Lewis and others would sell the stolen prescription medication on the black market.
The Lewis-led armed crew robbed pharmacies in Glendale, Bellflower, Paramount, Cerritos, Hawthorne, South Los Angeles, Pico Rivera, Huntington Park, Claremont, Westminster, Fullerton, Anaheim, and Riverside.
Each of the robberies shared a common modus operandi, including targeting smaller pharmacies, placing the stolen prescription drugs into the pharmacy’s trash bags or trash cans, using a black semi-automatic handgun to threaten and intimidate store employees, and forcing employees to open the medication vault.
“Over the course of more than a year…Lewis led a violent spree of armed robberies that terrorized numerous innocent individuals in order to obtain dangerous pharmaceutical drugs that he and others then sold,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “[Lewis’s] conduct subjected numerous innocent civilians (employees, customers, and bystanders), law enforcement (who engaged in at least two high speed chases with defendant’s crew members), and robbery crew members to profound danger.”
The FBI and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigated this matter, with assistance from the Claremont Police Department and the Glendale Police Department.
Assistant United States Attorneys Jeffrey M. Chemerinsky and Joseph D. Axelrad of the Violent and Organized Crime Section, and Assistant United States Attorney Peter Dahlquist of the Riverside Branch Office prosecuted this case.