News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 20, 2009
Contact: Chuvalo J. Truesdell
PIO/AFD
Number: 404-893-7124

Charlotte Men Convicted for Armed Robbery of South Carolina Pharmacies

MAR 20 -- Columbia, South Carolina -- United States Attorney W. WALTER WILKINS stated today that CHRISTOPHER RYAN HAYES, age 25, and STEPHEN RAY MILLER, age 25, both of Charlotte, North Carolina, were convicted of Armed Robbery of a Pharmacy, violations of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1951(a) & 924(c). The indictment charged HAYES with robbing at gunpoint, a Walgreen’s pharmacy located in Gaffney, SC and HAYES and MILLER with robbing at gunpoint, a Walgreen’s pharmacy located in Lexington, SC. They were accompanied during both robberies by Andy Huynh, age 25, currently incarcerated in North Carolina, who was previously indicted for the same offenses and has pled guilty. Thippasone Phanasouk, age 33, of Charlotte, participated in the Gaffney robbery and will be sentenced on May 12th. The conspirators took Schedule II and Schedule III narcotics during the robberies.

During the trial, employees of the Gaffney and Lexington Walgreen’s testified that the gunmen made them lie face down in the pharmacy area while drugs such as OxyCodone, Vicodin, Percocet, Lortab, and Xanax were taken. The drugs later were sold in Charlotte. Both HAYES and MILLER carried handguns in the robberies in which they participated.

KEVIN F. MCDONALD stated the maximum penalty HAYES and MILLER could receive for the first and third counts is a fine of $250,000 and imprisonment of 20 years. The violations of 924(c) carry penalties of seven years incarceration for the first offense, and an additional 25 years incarceration for the second offense.

Mr. Wilkins stated that the case was developed by Diversion investigators from the Drug Enforcement Administration and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Winston D. Holliday, Jr., and Nathan S. Williams of the Columbia office.

Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justhinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov. DEA.gov takes you directly to the Diversion Control and Prescription Drugs link.