Irvington man charged with three three armed robberies of pharmacies in Elizabeth

ELIZABETH, NJ — An Essex County man has been charged with three armed robberies of pharmacies for oxycodone and other prescription medication in Elizabeth, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced Oct. 21.

Charles Johnson, 28, of Irvington, was charged by complaint with three counts of Hobbs Act robbery and three counts of using, carrying and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. The Hobbs Act prohibits actual or attempted robbery or extortion by wrongful use of force or fear affecting interstate or foreign commerce.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, in June and July 2022, Johnson robbed three different pharmacies in Elizabeth, using a similar approach for each of the robberies, including using 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 the firearm. Law enforcement collected extensive video surveillance footage that reportedly links 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 counts each carry a maximum potential penalty of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison, which must run consecutive 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.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proved guilty.