Thursday, October 07, 2021

Four Men Charged in Drug Trafficking Conspiracy, Including Two Charged with Possession of Machine Gun and Conspiracy to Commit Robbery

 Investigation Followed Armed Robbery of Pharmaceuticals

            WASHINGTON – An indictment was unsealed today charging four men with taking part in a drug trafficking conspiracy, including two who were charged with conspiring to rob pharmacies and unlawful possession of a machine gun.

            The indictment was announced today by Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips, Charlie J. Patterson, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and Robert J. Contee III, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            All four defendants were arrested yesterday. They include Juwuan Champion, 22, of Bowie, Md., also known as “Big Money;” Fitzgerald Hunt, 24, of Washington, D.C., also known as “GMoney;” Joshua Johnson, 18, of Capitol Heights, Md., also known as “Lil Josh,” and Keyshawn Lavender, 20, of Washington, D.C., also known as “Key.” They made their initial appearances this afternoon in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and all remain detained pending further proceedings.

            The indictment follows an investigation by ATF and MPD into a crew operating from approximately January 2021 through October 2021 in the Potomac Gardens area of Southeast Washington. As described in the indictment, members of the crew are alleged to traffic in Oxycodone, Alprazolam, and other illegal narcotics. Champion and Hunt are accused of conspiring to rob pharmacies and the driver of a truck delivering narcotics to a pharmacy, and of unlawful possession of a machine gun. Champion and Hunt also are alleged to have possessed a “converter switch” device designed and intended to convert a semiautomatic Glock-style handgun into a machine gun capable of fully automatic fire, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.

            “Drug trafficking and the prevalence of guns on our streets continue to plaque our community at alarming and unacceptable rates,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Phillips. “Working together with our law enforcement partners, we will aggressively investigate and prosecute individuals who are terrorizing and making our neighborhoods unsafe with their armed drug trafficking activities, such as those alleged in this indictment.”

            “This investigation is focused on armed robberies, possession of machine guns, illegal possession of firearms, distribution of narcotics and other acts of violence within our community. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the men and women of ATF and our valued law enforcement partners; we are making every effort to collaborate and work collectively to take violent criminals off our streets,” said Special Agent in Charge Patterson. “We will continue to do as such until people feel safe to live and enjoy life. We will not tolerate violent crime, especially gun violence on our streets.”

            The ongoing investigation has focused on violent crimes, including a series of pharmacy robbery-related incidents in the District of Columbia and Maryland, culminating in the March 30, 2021 robbery of a pharmaceutical delivery van driver outside a pharmacy in Waldorf, Md.

            ATF and other law enforcement partners yesterday executed search warrants for four residences in the District of Columbia, two residences in Maryland, and one vehicle.   Agents recovered three firearms, including one with an obliterated serial number, ammunition, multiple bags of apparent marijuana, and cash currency totaling approximately $75,000. 

            Champion and Hunt are charged with a number of offenses related to these crimes, including conspiracy to interfere with interstate commerce by robbery. All told, Champion was indicted on 12 felony counts, including conspiracy, narcotics, and weapons offenses. Hunt was indicted on 11 similar charges. Lavender faces three felony counts, and Johnson, one. The indictment also includes a forfeiture count seeking all proceeds from the crimes.

            An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

            This case is being investigated by the ATF Washington Field Office and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). Critical support was provided by the Charles County, Md. Sheriff’s Office, and additional assistance was provided by the U.S. Marshals Service, the Prince George’s County, Md. Police Department, and Anne Arundel County, Md. Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Candice Wong of the Violent Crime and Narcotics Trafficking Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Assistance was provided by former Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Jacobs.

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