Updated:OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. —
Deputies said they recovered more than 21,000 prescription pills after arresting seven men in connection with a string of burglaries at Walgreens pharmacies in Osceola County.
Osceola County detectives said they have been investigating the string of burglaries since the beginning of June. There's been a total of seven break-ins at Walgreens locations in Osceola County, in addition to similar incidents in surrounding counties, officials said.
In each case, the suspects broke into a window at the pharmacy using a sledge hammer or ax and stole prescription drugs, according to officials.
After identifying 23-year-old Christopher Collins, 19-year-old Deveon Gibbs and 28-year-old Byron Clark as possible suspects, several units of the Osceola County Sheriff's Office conducted an undercover investigation.
Sheriff's office officials said that on June 27, undercover deputies followed Collins, Gibbs and Clark and witnessed them break into a Walgreens on Edgewater Drive in Orlando. All three men were subsequently taken into custody. Deputies said prescription pills and a sledge hammer were found in the suspects' vehicle.
Further investigation led deputies to identify four more suspects involved in the crimes, officials said. Those suspects, 21-year-old Marcus Hargrove, 21-year-old Kirkston Smith, 22-year-old Cederick Brooks and 21-year-old Daron Livingston, were arrested at a Super 8 motel on W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway in Kissimmee, where they were staying.
Investigators said in a search of two hotels room and two vehicles, they found more than 21,000 prescription pills with a total street value of about $1 million.
All seven suspects were arrested and charged with trafficking oxycodone, trafficking hydrocodone, trafficking hydromophone and trafficking morphine. Collins, Gibbs and Clark are also facing burglary and grand theft charges.
According to officials, all of the men are from Texas. Collins, Gibbs and Clark are documented gang members and have been suspected in pharmacy burglaries in other states, deputies said.