U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
District of Minnesota
District of Minnesota
For Immediate Release
July 12, 2012
B. Todd Jones, United States Attorney
Contact: Jeanne F. Cooney
Three Minneapolis Men Federally Indicted for Armed Robbery of a St. Paul Pharmacy
MINNEAPOLIS – Earlier today in federal court in St. Paul, three Minneapolis men were indicted for the April 3, 2012, armed robbery of the West 7th Pharmacy in St. Paul. Ray James Brown, age 24; Rayshawn Earl Brown, age 20; and Michael Brooks Bynum, age 30, were charged with one count of interference with commerce by robbery pursuant to the Hobbs Act, one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and one count of robbery involving controlled substances. In addition, Bynum was charged with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and Ray Brown was charged with three counts of interference with commerce by robbery and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The indictment alleges that on April 3, 2012, the defendants, armed with a Glock .40-caliber, semi-automatic pistol, stole more than $500 in prescription drugs from the pharmacy.
According to a law enforcement affidavit filed in the case, two men, later identified as Rayshawn Brown and Ray Brown, entered the St. Paul pharmacy. One was armed with a gun. Both wore gloves and nylon masks. They reportedly ordered two employees to lie on the floor while they forced the pharmacist to fill a plastic bag held by one of the robbers with Percocet, Vicodin, and Oxycontin. After the pharmacist emptied a large dispenser of Percocet into the bag, the robbers purportedly asked again about Oxycontin, and the pharmacist explained that the store did not carry that particular drug. The robbers then allegedly grabbed several bottles of other pills and, with their bag of stolen Percocet, fled the premises, threatening store employees that they would be shot if they moved.
The law enforcement affidavit also states that the men left the area in a Cadillac known by authorities to be associated with Bynum. Police subsequently stopped the vehicle, purportedly prompting Rayshawn and Ray Brown to flee on foot. While pursuing them, officers observed Ray Brown pull a handgun from his waistband and toss it into a dumpster. A short time later, after apprehending Ray Brown, the police retrieved the handgun from the dumpster and located the bag of stolen drugs nearby. They also found masks on the ground next to the Cadillac. Bynum, who had remained in the vehicle, was arrested, and police established a perimeter in an effort to locate Rayshawn Brown. He later emerged from behind a nearby house, claiming to be a homeless person who lived under the porch. He, too, was then arrested.
The indictment also alleges that on February 18, 2012, Ray Brown stole prescription drugs from Lloyds Pharmacy in St. Paul. On March 15, 2012, he allegedly stole prescription drugs from Best Aid Pharmacy in St. Louis Park. And on March 27, 2012, he allegedly stole prescription drugs from Pro Pharmacy in St. Paul. In all three instances, he purportedly threatened employees. If convicted of those offenses, Ray Brown will face a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for each incident.
Moreover, since Ray Brown and Bynum have prior felony convictions, they are prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms at any time. Bynum's previous felony convictions include "aggravated robbery" in Hennepin County in 2000 and "felon in possession of a firearm" in federal court in the District of Minnesota in 2006. Ray Brown's previous felony convictions include "first-degree burglary" in Hennepin County in 2006 and "felon in possession of a firearm" in federal court in the District of Minnesota in 2008. As a result, if they are convicted of the "felon in possession of a firearm" charge now levied against them, they will be subject to a potential maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison for that offense alone.
If convicted of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, the three defendants will face a potential maximum penalty of life in federal prison. And because the federal system has no parole, sentences are served in their entirety behind bars. All three defendants also face a potential maximum penalty, if convicted, of 20 years in federal prison for interference with commerce by robbery pursuant to the Hobbs Act and 25 years for robbery involving controlled substances. All sentences will ultimately be determined by a federal district court judge.
The Hobbs Act, passed by Congress in 1946, provides federal jurisdiction for cases involving violent, habitual criminals who commit armed robbery in businesses involved in interstate commerce. Federal prosecution of these offenders is sometimes beneficial since the penalties may be tougher than under state law. To that end, the U.S. Attorney's Office and its County Attorney partners are working together to ensure that violent offenders are effectively prosecuted, making our communities safer for all.
This case is the result of an investigation by the St. Paul Police Department, the St. Louis Park Police Department, and the United States ATF. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie E. Allyn.
An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.