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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 27, 2019

Two Additional Men Indicted in Connection with Attempted Robbery of Smithgall’s Pharmacy in Lancaster

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Johnny Straining, 23, and Lamar Black, 29, both of Harrisburg, PA were charged by Indictment with attempted robbery which interferes with interstate commerce, and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. Black was also charged with possession of a firearm by a felon. The charges against the defendants stem from the October 23, 2018 attempted robbery of Smithgall’s Pharmacy in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Two additional men – Brandon Galette and Andrew Garrett – were charged in February with federal crimes related to the same attempted robbery.

“Stemming the tide of violent crime in our communities is a top priority for my Office,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “People looking to make a quick buck by robbing convenience stores, pharmacies, and other businesses beware: this conduct is a federal crime, and if you are convicted, you will face stiff penalties under federal law.”

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

If convicted, Straining and Black face a maximum possible sentence of life imprisonment, with a seven-year mandatory minimum, which will be served consecutive to any other sentence imposed. Both are also subject to financial penalties, including fines and special assessments.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Lancaster City Bureau of Police, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tim Stengel.

An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Contact: 
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA Suite 1250, 615 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19106 JENNIFER CRANDALL Media Contact 215-861-8300 If you have not done so already, follow @USAO_EDPA and @USAttyMcSwain to get the most up-to-date information about big cases and community news.
Updated June 27, 2019