CALIFORNIA—A Torrance pharmacy technician was arrested for the theft and illegal selling of prescription drugs that are in high demand for the intended treatment of COVID-19, as reported by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday, April 22.

The sale of the prescription drugs Hydroxychloroquine, a type of medication to treat a variety of Auto-Immune Diseases, and Azithromycin, which is a type of antibiotic that had been flagged and investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, County Services Bureau, and the Los Angeles County District Attorney. The medications had been in high demand for treating COVID-19. When taken outside of the care of a medical professional, the drugs can be fatal.  

Given that the medications are extremely sought out during the pandemic, hospital stakeholders and hospital personnel  made sure to monitor their supply inventory, noticing a discrepancy almost immediately. After conducting their investigation, the LASD arrested Christopher Mencias Agustin, 36, for grand theft and burglary on March 31.

Authorities determined that Agustin conducted a theft of approximately $7,000 worth of prescription drugs. During a search of Agustin’s home on April 9, additional prescription drugs and one controlled substance were recovered at his residence. He is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail for second Degree Burglary during Emergency.