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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 24, 2019

Federal Jury convicts Memphis man of Armed Pharmacy Robbery, firearm offense, and drug conspiracy

Memphis, TN – A federal jury has convicted Jesse Robert Coop, 41, for the Armed Business Robbery of a CVS Pharmacy, brandishing a firearm during of a crime of violence, and conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute various controlled prescription drugs. D. Michael Dunavant, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee announced the guilty verdict today.

According to the information presented in court, on April 27, 2018, two individuals, one black and one white, entered CVS Pharmacy located at 6620 Winchester Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee. The white individual walked around the store as the black individual pulled out a revolver and demanded drugs from the pharmacist. The pharmacist provided the individual with drugs from the safe, and then both individuals fled the business. Witnesses stated that they heard a motorcycle as the individuals left the area.

A tracking device had been placed in one of the pill bottles, and it led the Memphis Police to a residence located at 6070 Knightsbridge in Memphis. Officers surrounded the house and demanded everyone inside to exit. Keith Harrington and Jesse Coop exited the house and were later arrested without incident.

Officers later obtained a search warrant and found multiple pill bottles in the house containing various controlled substances. Coop admitted to participation in the robbery and that he was the driver of the motorcycle with Harrington as a passenger when they fled the pharmacy.

Based on the surveillance footage, defendant Harrington matched the description of one of the robbers, and the pharmacist also identified defendant Harrington in a photo line-up. The stolen prescription drugs had a total value of $44,250.

On August 21, 2018, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against defendant Jesse Coop and co-defendant Keith Harrington, 30, charging Robbery affecting interstate commerce (Hobbs Act) in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1951; use and carry of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. 924(c); and conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances: Oxycodone, OxyContin, Morphine, Hydrocodone, and Nucynta.

On January 11, 2019, co-defendant Keith Harrington pled guilty to all of the indicted charges, and his sentencing is scheduled on April 12, 2019. On January 23, 2019, after a two-day trial, a jury found defendant Jesse Coop guilty as charged in the indictment. Sentencing for Coop is scheduled on May 3, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Sheryl H. Lipman. Coop and Harrington each face possible sentences of up to 20 years for the Hobbs Act Business Robbery, up to 20 years for each drug conspiracy count, and a mandatory minimum consecutive sentence of 7 years for brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, "Robberies of businesses with a firearm are especially dangerous and violent due to the high risk of death and serious bodily injury to innocent victims. Pharmacy robberies for controlled substances present the further dangerous risk of hundreds of prescription opioids being unlawfully distributed into the community, causing further potential addiction, injury, and death. As demonstrated in this case, we will not tolerate this senseless gun violence and will use all available resources to remove dangerous offenders from our communities for a very long time. Gun Crime is Max Time."

The case was investigated by the Memphis Police Department and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force.

Assistant United States Attorney Kevin Whitmore prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

Contact: 
Cherri Green Public Information Officer Cherri.Green@usdoj.gov 901-544-4231
Updated January 24, 2019