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Press Release

Essex County Man Admits Armed Robberies of Three Pharmacies

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

CAMDEN, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man admitted committing three armed robberies of pharmacies in Elizabeth, New Jersey, for oxycodone and other prescription medication, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

Charles Johnson, 28, of Irvington, New Jersey, pleaded guilty on June 14, 2023, before U.S. District Judge Karen M. Williams in Camden federal court to an information charging him with three counts of Hobbs Act robbery and one count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. 

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Throughout June and July 2022, Johnson robbed three different pharmacies in Elizabeth using a similar approach for each of the robberies, including brandishing a firearm, committing the robberies in the morning, demanding that employees of the pharmacies provide Johnson with oxycodone, promethazine, and other prescription medication, and threatening to shoot individuals in the pharmacies with a firearm. Law enforcement officials collected extensive video surveillance footage that linked Johnson to the robberies.

The Hobbs Act Robbery counts each carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. The brandishing of a firearm during a crime of violence count carries a maximum potential penalty of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison, which must run consecutively to any other term of imprisonment imposed. Each count also carries a fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gain or loss from the offenses, whichever is greatest. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 18, 2023.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark; the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor William A. Daniel; and the Elizabeth Police Department, under the direction of Chief Giacomo Sacca, for the investigation leading to the guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica R. Ecker of the General Crimes Unit in Newark.


Updated June 15, 2023

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 23-177