Second Passaic County Man Charged with Conspiring to Commit Seven Armed Robberies of Several Pharmacies
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey
NEWARK, N.J. – A Passaic County, New Jersey man arrested in connection with seven armed robberies of pharmacies made his initial appearance today in Newark federal court, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
Onijee Burgess, 26, of Paterson, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery. Burgess made his initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward S. Kiel in Newark federal court and was detained].
According to the complaint and statements made in court:
From November 2022 through April 5, 2023, Burgess conspired with Antonio Rivera and others to commit seven separate armed robberies of five different pharmacies in Paterson and Passaic, New Jersey to steal prescription medication. Rivera was previously charged by complaint for two of these robberies. During those robberies, Rivera fired a gun and pointed it at numerous victims. The charges against him are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a potential $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited members of the FBI’s New Jersey field office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Denney, with the investigation leading to the charges. He also thanked members of the Paterson Police Department, under the leadership of Officer in Charge Isa M. Abbassi; members of the Passaic Police Department, under the leadership of Police Chief Luis Guzman; members of the Passaic County Sheriff's Office, under the leadership of Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik; members of the Clifton Police Department, under the leadership of Police Chief Thomas Rinaldi; members of the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office, under the leadership of Chief Jason Love; and members of the Cedar Grove Police Department, under the leadership of Police Chief John J. Kennedy; with their help in the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sophie Kaiser of the General Crimes Unit in Newark.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Updated October 18, 2023
Press Release Number: 23-305