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Schumer seeks laws to protect drugstores

Massapequa Park, NY: Wednesday, January 04, 2012--- Senator

Massapequa Park, NY: Wednesday, January 04, 2012--- Senator Charles Schumer held a press conference today at the Nassau County Police Department of Intelligence calling for a new, three pronged approach to protect local drug stores from the growing problem of pharmacy theft, due to the increased use of illegally obtained prescription pain killers like Oxycotin. Schumer�s plan would have the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) issue guidelines and best practices to help local pharmacies establish better security measures for the protection of prescription narcotics and to act as a deterrent to would-be robbers. Additionally, he will call on the DEA to share information the agency collects on pharmaceutical theft and crime with local law enforcement, to allow the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Assistance (HIDTA) task force to create an accessible database to help identify trends and patterns related to prescription drug crime in the region. Schumer�s proposal will also call for increasing the maximum sentence for pharmacy robberies and their related crimes to twenty years, per offense. Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan Photo Credit: Newsday/Audrey C. Tiernan

Tougher prison sentences and tighter security are needed to protect drugstores from the problem of prescription drug theft, Sen. Charles Schumer said Wednesday.

Schumer (D-N.Y.) outlined an approach to combat the robberies in a news conference in Massapequa Park with police officials and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano.

On New Year's Eve a federal ATF agent died trying to foil a pharmacy holdup in Seaford. Sources say the preliminary investigation has shown the agent, John Capano, 51, of Massapequa, was shot in a moment of confusion by a retired Nassau police officer as the agent tried to subdue the robber, who had stolen prescription drugs.

Investigators expect the preliminary inquiry into Capano's death to wrap up by the end of the week, according to a source. The accused thief, James McGoey, 43, of Hampton Bays, was shot dead by an off-duty NYPD officer, according to sources.

"That tragic death of ATF officer Capano brings us together to renew our efforts to combat prescription drug misuse and abuse," Mangano said.

Schumer said he has introduced legislation that calls for revising recommendations that guide federal sentencing, with the aim of moving closer to the 20-year maximum for pharmacy-related crimes.

Schumer called the addiction to prescription painkillers insidious. "It's eating into our society," he said.

In June, David Laffer killed four people as he robbed a Medford pharmacy for prescription painkillers. He was sentenced in November to multiple, consecutive life sentences for murder.

Schumer called on the Drug Enforcement Administration to help pharmacies establish stricter security measures, and to share data on pharmaceutical theft and crime with local law enforcement to help analyze trends and patterns.

DEA spokeswoman Special Agent Erin Mulvey says the agency already shares the information with local agencies through a task force.

Wilbert Plummer, acting special agent in charge of the DEA's New York field division, says the DEA has held sessions for pharmacies on deterring robberies and handling robbers.

"We work hand-in-hand together," he said.

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