Baltimore Man Pleads Guilty to Participating in a Violent Racketeering Conspiracy, Including a Murder
Baltimore, Maryland – Javaughn Berry, age 26, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty yesterday to interference with commerce by robbery (Hobbs Act Robbery).
The guilty plea was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Baltimore Field Office; Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department, Chief Melissa R. Hyatt of the Baltimore County Police Department; and the Anne Arundel County Police Chief Amal Awad.
According to his guilty plea, from October 2019 to December 2019, Berry and a co-conspirator committed three robberies within Maryland.
On October 13, 2019, Berry and a co-conspirator robbed a Baltimore, Maryland pharmacy. After the robbery, Baltimore Police Department officers responded to the scene and spoke to a victim who reported that the two male suspects wore black masks, black gloves, glasses, and yellow reflective vests. Prior to the robbery, both men were picking up trash in the parking lot. When the pharmacy opened at 8:00 a.m., the suspects entered. One suspect pointed a black revolver at a victim employee and demanded access to the safe. The suspects took $1,630.00 in cash from the safe and tied the victim’s hands with zip ties. They took also took the victim’s keys and fled in the victim’s vehicle.
After this robbery, investigators with the FBI obtained cell phone tower records which revealed that Berry and his co-conspirator’s phones were used in close proximity to the victim pharmacy around the time of the robbery. After investigators recovered Berry’s phone, they executed a search warrant on the device and recovered photos of Berry holding large amounts of cash. The photos were taken on the morning of the robbery.
On November 17, 2019, Berry and his co-conspirator executed a robbery at a retail establishment in Millersville, Maryland. Victims reported to Anne Arundel County Police that two men entered the store as it was closing and demanded money. Both suspects wore masks and had black handguns. The suspects stole $3,200.00 in cash and zip-tied the employees. One of the suspects struck a victim on the head and pulled her to the ground. The victim sustained a cut to her right ear and was treated by medics on scene.
Cell-site information shows Berry and his co-conspirator’s phones in the area near the retailer about two minutes after the robbery. Like the pharmacy robbery, Berry and his co-conspirator fled the scene by stealing an employee’s vehicle. Subsequent to a search warrant on the co-conspirator phone, investigators recovered a picture of a vehicle similar to the employee’s stolen vehicle. Metadata revealed that the picture first appeared on the co-conspirator phone after the robbery.
On December 13, 2019, Berry and his co-conspirator executed the third robbery at a Parksville, Maryland chain restaurant. On the morning of December 13, 2019, Baltimore County Police Department (“BCPD”) detectives responded to the restaurant and found the shift manager and his co-worker inside. According to the victim employees, around 7:00 a.m., the shift manager and co-worker unlocked the front doors when two male suspects entered the store wearing dark, hooded sweatshirts and masks. Berry’s co-conspirator approached the shift manager, pulled out a revolver, and demanded that he open the safe. Berry’s co-conspirator stole $3,393.37 in cash, then put the shift manager’s wrists and ankles in zip ties. Berry approached the co-worker and put zip ties on his wrists and ankles. Both men subsequently stole the shift manger’s vehicle and fled the scene, leaving behind the stolen vehicle from the November retail robbery.
A search warrant executed on the Berry’s phone revealed that Berry’s phone was in the parking lot of the restaurant in the time frame of the robbery.
As stated in his plea agreement, on December 14, 2019, a BCPD officer found the vehicle stolen during the restaurant robbery parked a few blocks away from Berry’s residence. BCPD officers placed a GPS device on the vehicle to track its movements.
As investigators continued following the stolen vehicle on December 16, 2019, Berry abandoned the car and fled on foot. Investigators found Berry walking along Harford Road soon afterward. After waiving his Miranda rights, Berry claimed that he saw the stolen car earlier that morning and wanted to take it for a joy ride.
Berry agrees that he committed the December 13, 2019 robbery of the victim restaurant. Berry also agrees that he took money from the presence of the victims, against the victims’ wills, by using actual or threatened force, violence, or fear of injury. Finally, the Berry agrees that the money stolen from victim restaurant affected interstate commerce.
Berry and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Berry will be sentenced to between 8 to 10 years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander has scheduled a sentencing hearing for September 10, 2021 at 2:00 p.m.
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended the FBI, the Baltimore County Police Department, the Baltimore City Police Department, and the Anne Arundel County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon K. Moore and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Podlesni who are prosecuting the case.
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