A Laurel man was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years and one month in federal prison for being involved with multiple pharmacy robberies, including in Howard County and surrounding jurisdictions, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland announced Wednesday.
Arthur Raymond Prince, 20, previously pleaded guilty to have robbed pharmacies in Columbia, Laurel, Annapolis and Pasadena with an accomplice between May 5, 2017, and Nov. 29, 2017, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a release.
Prince and Jawanza Kevin Carter, 22, also of Laurel, would demand Oxycodone, OxyContin, Percocet and Codeine from pharmacy clerks as Carter pointed a gun at the clerk. In most of the robberies, the two also stole money from the cash register or robbed the clerk.
Prince was charged with robbery of controlled substances, for carrying and brandishing a firearm “during and in relation to a crime of violence,” in connection with an armed robbery or an attempted armed robbery of the five pharmacies, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
As part of his sentencing by Chief U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar, Prince also will have five years of supervised release.
The “sentence sends a strong message that if you ever use a gun to commit a federal crime, you will serve federal time, where there is no parole — ever,” U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur said in a statement.
The two “used guns to threaten pharmacy employees and steal tens of thousands of dollars worth of opioids and other prescription drugs,” Hur added.
Carter, who pleaded guilty to the robberies earlier this month, faces up to 25 years for committing a robbery involving controlled substances and up to life in prison for brandishing a firearm. He is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 21 in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
Using cell-site records, investigators determined Prince’s phone was in the immediate area of the pharmacy at the time of each robbery, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Photos recovered from Prince’s phone include him handling large amounts of cash as well as photos and videos of him handling firearms, the release states. Text messages between Prince and Carter related to the robberies were also found.
Prince was arrested Nov. 29, 2017, the same day police say he and Carter robbed the Annapolis Professional Pharmacy. He was arrested in Odenton, not far from where law enforcement located stolen narcotics, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
After learning his girlfriend was scheduled to testify before a federal grand jury, “Prince attempted to obstruct justice,” according to the release.
In a recorded jail cell, Prince told her “you don’t know nothing, nobody, OK? Get that through your [expletive] skull. Get that through your melon, OK? Nada.”
Authorities arrested Carter at his girlfriend’s house in Laurel, according to the release, and found recovered .40-caliber ammunition, a gun cleaning kit and an empty handgun case with a clip in subsequent searches.
His DNA was found on a shopping bag at the Howard Pharmacy and on a mask he wore while robbing the pharmacy in Annapolis, and his fingerprints were found on one of the getaway vehicles, authorities previously said.
Days and weeks following some of the robberies, Carter posted images of flashy purchases on Snapchat, including designer sneakers and a gold watch, authorities previously said.
The FBI’s Baltimore Field Office, the Howard County Police Department, the Anne Arundel County Police Department, the Montgomery County Police Department, the Prince George’s County Police Department, the Annapolis Police Department and the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office took part in the investigation, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Baltimore Sun Media Group reporter Alex Mann contributed to this article.