GTTF testimony draws link back to drugs looted from Baltimore pharmacies in 2015 riot after Freddie Gray funeral

The Baltimore Sun

On Thursday, a Baltimore bail bondsman said a member of the city’s Gun Trace Task Force arrived at his home with two trash bags full of looted prescription drugs amid the April 2015 riots and looting.

The testimony on Thursday, in which Donald C. Stepp said Sgt. Wayne Jenkins made near-nightly trips to Stepp’s county home to drop off drugs, adds an additional layer to our understanding of the looting of pharmacies and businesses in the hours after Freddie Gray’s funeral.

More than 300,000 doses of prescription-grade drugs were looted during the April 27 riot, officials said.

Here are a few points to recall from the looting of pharmacies, in particular:

» Weeks after the riot, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts said police were working with federal partners such as the Drug Enforcement Administration to seize more than 175,000 "units," or doses, of prescription drugs looted from 27 pharmacies and two methadone clinics.

"There's enough narcotics on the streets of Baltimore to keep it intoxicated for a year," Batts said. "That amount of drugs has thrown off the balance on the streets of Baltimore."

Batts' comments came the same day that Rite Aid said looting at its locations included prescription drugs, as well as the theft of personal medical information. DEA Special Agent Gary Tuggle said even more drugs had been stolen than was reported. Read more.

» Security cameras at a Pennsylvania Avenue pharmacy recorded looters carrying away a 300-pound safe filled with oxycodone, Percocet and other powerful narcotics, owners say. Read more.

» As the summer went on, the DEA reported 80 percent more drugs were looted than had been initially reported. Nearly 315,000 doses of drugs were stolen, the DEA reported. More than 40 percent were Schedule II opioids, a class that includes methadone, oxycodone and fentanyl. A DEA spokesman said none of the drugs were recovered. Read more.

» Another narrative was constructed in a book, “Pill City,” based on the looted drugs. The Sun and other news organizations have been unable to substantiate the tales in the book. Read more.

The trial of the Gun Trace Task Force officers involves no court action on Fridays. It will resume Monday. For full coverage of the trial, click here.

sjwelsh@baltsun.com

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