Core-Mark thief sentenced

By Matt Lasley -

More than five years after the theft took place, a co-conspirator in the theft of nearly $1.5 million worth of cigarettes from the Leitchfield Core-Mark warehouse has been sentenced.

United States Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr., announced this week that Amaury Villa, 41, currently of Miami, FL but originally from Cuba, was sentenced this week in United States District Court to 77 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $1,486,164.45 for conspiracy and theft charges stemming from his participation in the 2011 Core-Mark theft.

Villa admitted to his role in stealing nearly $1.5 million in cigarettes from the Leitchfield Core-Mark cigarette warehouse in March of 2011, and that he and others possessed the stolen cigarettes (which constitute an interstate and foreign shipment of property valued at over $1,000) with the intent to convert the property to their own use, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky.

During the theft, Villa and his co-conspirators gained entry into the warehouse through the roof, disabled the alarm system, and loaded the stolen goods into a stolen tractor trailer.

Allegedly, between March 18, 2011, to March 20, 2011, Camilo Rodriguez-Hernandez rented three hotel rooms in Elizabethtown, where the co-conspirators, who had traveled to Kentucky from Miami, resided during the theft.

Between March 19, 2011, and March 20, 2011, Amaury Villa, Ivan Romero (AKA El Negro), Amed Villa (charged separately), and other co-conspirators unloaded a stolen tractor trailer and loaded it with cigarettes.

Romero admitted to providing transportation for the stolen cigarettes and driving them to the New Jersey/New York area.

Amaury Villa admitted to “casing” the warehouse location, cutting a hole in the warehouse roof, and then entering the warehouse and disabling the alarm system, the release states.

Amaury Villa will serve his 77-month prison term consecutive to a 140-month sentence from the Southern District of Florida and the District of Connecticut, for his role in the theft of approximately $90 million in pharmaceuticals from the Eli Lilly Company warehouse and storage facility in Enfield, CT.

Romero, also a legal permanent resident from Cuba who last resided in Miami, will finish serving a six-year state sentence from Florida before being transferred to federal custody to serve 57 months, to which he was sentenced earlier this year.

Amaury Villa’s brother, Amed Villa, pleaded guilty in the District of Connecticut to charges stemming from the $90 million in pharmaceuticals stolen from the Eli Lilly Company warehouse and storage facility in Enfield, CT, and several other warehouse thefts, including that of the Leitchfield Core-Mark cigarette warehouse.

Rodriguez-Hernandez has a trial pending in the Western District of Kentucky.

Restitution will be paid to Core-Mark and the insurance company for Core-Mark.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Judd, and the investigation of the Leitchfield theft is being led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) with assistance from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Leitchfield and Elizabethtown Police Departments, and New Jersey and Kentucky State Police Departments.

By Matt Lasley

Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.

Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.

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