News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Minneapolis man sentenced to more than 18 years for armed robbery of St. Paul pharmacy

July 30, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court in St. Paul, a 31-year-old Minneapolis man was sentenced for the April 3, 2012, armed robbery of the West 7th Pharmacy in St. Paul. United States District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ordered Michael Brooks Bynum to serve 220 months in federal prison on one count of interference with commerce by robbery pursuant to the Hobbs Act and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Bynum was indicted along with two co-defendants on July 10, 2012, and pleaded guilty on March 11, 2013.

Following today’s sentencing, Scott D. Sweetow, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”), St. Paul Field Division, said, “Armed commercial robberies represent a serious and real threat to the public, one that ATF is fully committed to investigate with our partners, using tools, such as the Hobbs Act, to bring violent offenders to the bar of justice. The public should not have to worry that when they are getting a prescription filled or stopping at the store for a gallon of milk, that they may encounter violent, armed predators looking to steal prescription drugs at gunpoint.”

In his plea agreement, Bynum admitted that on April 3, 2012, he drove Ray James Brown, age 25, and Rayshawn Earl James Brown, age 21, both of Minneapolis, to the West 7th Pharmacy in St. Paul. The men entered the establishment wearing masks. They pointed a .40-caliber, semi-automatic pistol at store employees and demanded they get down on the floor. They ordered the pharmacist to dump drugs, such as Percocet, Vicodin, and Oxycontin, into a plastic bag. Grabbing the filled bag, they then ran from the premises to their get-away car. Bynum drove the car, which was stopped by police a short time later. Both of the Browns attempted to run from police, but they were quickly apprehended. The gun brandished during the robbery was recovered nearby.

Bynum and Ray Brown also committed the armed robberies of Lloyds Pharmacy in St. Paul on February 18, 2012; the Best Aid Pharmacy in St. Louis Park on March 15, 2012; and the Pro Pharmacy in St. Paul on March 27, 2012. Rayshawn Brown took part in the Pro Pharmacy robbery. In addition, Bynum has been previously convicted on other robbery and firearms charges and was on supervised release at the time he committed the recent four robberies.

On May 20, 2013, Rayshawn Brown was sentenced to 120 months on one count of interference with commerce by robbery pursuant to the Hobbs Act and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. He pleaded guilty on September 21, 2012. On May 15, 2013, Ray Brown was sentenced to 168 months on two counts of possession of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. He pleaded guilty on September 19, 2012.

The Hobbs Act, passed by Congress in 1946, provides federal jurisdiction for cases involving violent, habitual criminals who commit armed robbery in businesses involved in interstate commerce.

This case was the result of an investigation by the St. Paul Police Department, the St. Louis Park Police Department, the Hennepin County Violent Offender Task Force, and the ATF. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julie E. Allyn and Surya Saxena.















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