NEW YORK (PIX11)—A week after a quadruple homicide at a Long Island pharmacy, cops investigate an armed robbery at another pharmacy less than two miles away from last week's multiple fatal crime. Meanwhile, a woman who cops say confessed to planning the quadruple fatal pharmacy robbery on Father's Day may get charged with murder on Monday, while big names in Washington propose new legislation intended to reduce the growing frequency of crimes related to painkiller distribution.
Melinda Brady's case will go before a grand jury Monday. She's the wife of David Laffer, 33, who's charged with murder in the shootings at the Haven Drugs Pharmacy in Medford on Long Island last week that left dead pharmacist Raymond Ferguson, 45, his assistant, Jennifer Mejia, 17, and two customers, Jaime Taccetta, 33, and Bryon Sheffield, 71.
Court documents show that Brady, 29, has told investigators that she and her husband planned the prescription drugs robbery together, and that she drove him to the pharmacy in Medford to carry it out, and drove him back to their home nearby after the crimes. For now, however, she's only charged with third degree robbery and obstructing government administration.
Suffolk County prosecutors have said that they anticipate Monday's hearing resulting in additional charges, including murder.
Brady and Laffer's alleged crimes are described as a wake up call by some heavy hitters in Washington. They say that the Medford murders are part of a rapidly growing epidemic. New information backs up that assessment strongly.
First, on Sunday around noon, exactly a week after the Medford shootings, a man walked into a CVS pharmacy on Horseblock Road in neighboring Farmingville and handed a note to an employee demanding prescription drugs and cash. The employee complied, and now detectives are looking for him.
Also, statistics from the Drug Enforcement Agency show that armed robbery at pharmacies between 2006 and 2010 rose 81% nationwide. In New York, the occurrence leapt from 2 robberies in 2006 to 28 in 2008, a 1400% jump.
"The problem is more serious these days than herioin, crack and methamphetamines," Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) said on Sunday, as he predicted a prescription drug addiction epidemic as bad or worse than the crack cocaine epidemic that plagued the Tri-State area in the 1980's.
"It's time we stand up, get serious and do something about it," the man who's one of the three most powerful senators said at a newsconference as he announced his co-sponsoring of new legislation with Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). It would require doctors and pharmacists to take specialized training in order to prescribe and distribute painkillers like OxyContin and Vicatin.
Those two prescription drugs and drugs similar to them are the objects of the overwhelming majority of pharmacy robberies. Some law enforcement agencies estimate that just one prescription painkiller pill can sell for up to $80 on the black market.