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Duane Reade pharmacy technician in Manhattan stole oxycodone pills, sold them on Long Island and elsewhere, say feds

A federal grand jury has indicted a former drugstore pharmacy technician who stole more than 32,000 oxycodone pills from her employer and sold them illegally on Long Island and elsewhere, federal authorities said.

Nereida Gutierrez, 38, of Wallkill in Orange County, is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday on conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance in federal court in Central Islip.

She worked at the Duane Reade in Manhattan's Union Square when she stole the powerful, painkilling pills between June 2011 and June 2012 and sold them, according to court documents.

Two confidential sources, one in state prison on an oxycodone distribution conviction and another under arrest, accused of distributing the drug, worked together with Gutierrez and told federal authorities that she was one of their suppliers, according to a request for an arrest warrant for the former pharmacy worker. One of them said Gutierrez regularly stole the pills and supplied other narcotics dealers, court documents said.

A loss prevention specialist for the company told investigators that Gutierrez, who worked at the Duane Reade store from April 2009 to September 2012, was the "prime suspect" in the missing oxycodone, according to the arrest warrant documentation from Robert Lynch, a New York State Police investigator assigned to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.The highly addictive oxycodone produces a heroinlike high and an epidemic of oxycodone abuse has led to robberies, doctors selling fake prescriptions across the nation and fatal shootings on Long Island.

Gutierrez's attorney, Peter Citrin of Melville, said his client will plead not guilty at her arraignment. A Duane Reade representative did not respond Monday night to requests for comment.

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