NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man has been charged with three armed robberies of pharmacies for oxycodone and other prescription medication in Elizabeth, New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.
Charles Johnson, 28, of Irvington, New Jersey, was charged by complaint with three counts of Hobbs Act Robbery and three counts of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Johnson is scheduled to make his initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge André M. Espinosa in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
In June and July 2022, Johnson robbed three different pharmacies in Elizabeth, New Jersey, using a similar approach for each of the robberies, including using a firearm, committing the robberies in the morning, demanding that employees of the pharmacies provide Johnson with oxycodone, promethazine, and other prescription medication, and threatening to shoot individuals in the pharmacies with a firearm. Law enforcement collected extensive video surveillance footage that linked Johnson to the robberies.
The Hobbs Act Robbery counts each carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. The brandishing of a firearm during a crime of violence counts each carry a maximum potential penalty of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison, which must run consecutive to any other term of imprisonment imposed. Each count also carries a fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gain or loss from the offenses, whichever is greatest.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited members of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark; the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, under the leadership of Prosecutor William A. Daniel; and the Elizabeth Police Department, under the leadership of Police Chief Giacomo Sacca, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica R. Ecker of the General Crimes Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.