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Found: $80 million in stolen Vicodin
By Denise Hollinshed
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
A tip from an observant citizen paid off for the Drug Enforcement Administration Tuesday when they were directed to an abandoned gas station parking lot in Troy, Ill.
What they found was a stolen trailer filled with Vicodin tablets with a street value of about $80 million.
The tractor trailer was stolen on June 17th from the Pilot truck stop in Troy, according to Scott Collier, diversion program manager at the DEA. The narcotic pain killer was being hauled from the Watson Laboratories in Corona California when the driver stopped in Troy and went inside the truck stop. Two white males were seen getting into the rig with the 16.6 million tablets of the narcotic inside.
Before the heist, the load was headed to a Watson distributor in Gurnee, Ill.
On the street, the tablets are valued at between $2 to $5 a pill, according to Collier, who said there was a huge market for abusing the drug. He said Vicodin is the number one most diverted drug from a legitimate market place to an illegitimate market.
"This sort of thing is not normal," Collier said of the drug theft. "The size is incredibly extraordinary."
The cab of the truck was found on June 20 in Hamel, Ill. by local authorities. The truck's trailer, with the Vicodin in it, was recovered Tuesday on a parking lot of an abandoned gas station on Interstate 70 and Route 4 in Troy -- not far from where it was stolen..
"We believe we have gotten the load," Collier said. "We haven't completed our inventory yet. We are still processing the truck."
Collier said the truck appeared to be fully loaded. He said it appeared that just one box had been opened and only a few bottles inside had been taken.
The case was handled by the DEA, FBI, Illinois State Police and Troy Police Department.