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Press Release

Laurel Man Sentenced To More Than 22 Years In Federal Prison For Committing Five Armed Robberies Of Pharmacies In Howard, Anne Arundel, And Prince George’s Counties

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland
Stole Tens of Thousands of Dollars’ Worth of Opioids; Attempted to Obstruct Justice

Baltimore, Maryland – Chief U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar sentenced Jawanza Kevin Carter, age 22, of Laurel, Maryland, to 272 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for robbery involving controlled substances, and for carrying and brandishing of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in connection with the armed robbery or attempted armed robbery of five pharmacies and the theft of tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of opioids.  The sentence was imposed late on November 15, 2019.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Chief Henry P. Stawinski III of the Prince George’s County Police Department; Chief Edward Jackson of the Annapolis Police Department; Anne Arundel County Police Chief Tim Altomare; Chief Marcus Jones of the Montgomery County Police Department; Chief Lisa D. Myers of the Howard County Police Department; and Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess.

“Criminals who are not deterred from carrying guns by the threat of prison time can be deterred by the reality of years spent in a federal prison far from home,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur.  “Police and prosecutors are working to remove armed criminals from our communities.  Jawanza Carter, who is 22 years old, used a gun to rob pharmacies.  Carter will now serve the next 22 years in federal prison, where there is no parole—ever.  Please, put down the guns.  You may save a life, including your own.”

According to Carter’s plea agreement, between May 5 and November 29, 2017, Carter and his co-conspirator Arthur Prince participated in five armed robberies of pharmacies.  In each robbery, Carter pointed a gun at the clerk, and Carter and Prince demanded opioid narcotics such as Oxycodone, OxyContin, Percocet, and Codeine.  In most of the robberies, Carter and Prince also stole money from the cash register and/or robbed the clerk.

Specifically, Carter admitted that he robbed: the Howard Pharmacy in Columbia, Maryland on May 5, 2017; the Lorven Pharmacy in Laurel on June 19, 2017; the Pasadena Pharmacy in Pasadena, Maryland on August 25, 2017; and the Annapolis Professional Pharmacy in Annapolis, Maryland on November 29, 2017.  Carter and Prince also attempted to rob the Pace Wellness Pharmacy in Pasadena on August 25, 2017, but were not able to steal narcotics when the clerk didn’t know where the drugs were located.  Instead, Carter and Prince stole $180 from the cash register and robbed the clerk of her purse, which contained $50 in cash and credit cards, among other things.

In each robbery, cell-site records showed that Carter’s phone was in the immediate area of the pharmacy at the time of the robbery, and his DNA was found on a reusable shopping bag left by the robbers at the Howard Pharmacy and on a mask Carter wore during the Annapolis Professional Pharmacy robbery that law enforcement later recovered.  In addition, law enforcement recovered Carter’s fingerprints on one of the getaway vehicles used by the robbers, and text messages between Carter and Prince concerning one of the robberies.  Photos from Carter’s Snapchat account also appear to reflect large purchases in the days and weeks after some of the robberies, including luxury items from Gucci, a gold watch, and designer tennis shoes. 

Prince was arrested after the robbery on November 29, 2017, in Odenton, Maryland, not far from where law enforcement located the stolen narcotics.  Carter was arrested at the home of his girlfriend in Laurel.  Searches executed at locations associated with Carter recovered three boxes of .40-caliber ammunition, a gun cleaning kit and related items, and an empty handgun carrying case with a clip in it.

After his arrest and while he was detained, Carter attempted to obstruct justice.  In recorded jail calls, Carter instructed his girlfriend to get rid of a bag used in connection with one of the robberies, which she did.  On December 4, 2017, Carter coached his girlfriend on what to say to law enforcement about two vehicles used in the robberies that were titled and registered to her.  Carter told his girlfriend to tell law enforcement that one of the cars is a “family and friends car,” and that she drove the other vehicle.

Co-conspirator Arthur Raymond Prince, age 20, of Laurel Maryland, was previously sentenced to more than 15 years in federal prison for aiding and abetting robbery involving controlled substances, and aiding and abetting the brandishing of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in connection with the armed robberies of five pharmacies.

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.  Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI, the Prince George’s County Police Department, the Annapolis Police Department, the Anne Arundel County Police Department, the Montgomery County Police Department, the Howard County Police Department, and the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul A. Riley and Brandon K. Moore, who prosecuted the case.

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Updated November 19, 2019