PHILADELPHIA, PA — United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Jon Suggs, 31, and Nickolas Passineau 31, both of Philadelphia, PA were both convicted Tuesday at trial of two counts of Hobbs Act Robbery, and one count of using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence arising from the armed robberies of two pharmacies in Philadelphia.
In March 2020, the defendants were charged by Superseding Indictment with two armed-robbery incidents in late 2017 and early 2018. Five other co-defendants were also charged in connection with the incidents, all of whom have since pleaded guilty. Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that Suggs and Passineau used the “take-over method” in both robberies: donning masks, and holding their victims at gunpoint to demand large quantities of narcotics, including opioids, promethazine, fentanyl, and morphine. The defendants also became violent during the robberies – pistol whipping, punching and kicking their pharmacy-employee victims. The estimated value of the controlled substances obtained by the defendants in the second robbery alone was $60,000. Philadelphia Police officers executed a search warrant of defendant Suggs’ residence and found ammunition, over $19,000 in cash, and clothing that matched witness descriptions of one of the robbers.
“Suggs, Passineau and their cohorts threatened the lives of pharmacy employees with weapons and physical violence, and stole thousands in controlled substances which undoubtedly wound up on the streets,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “These defendants made terrible choices, for which they have now been held accountable by a federal jury.”
“Violent takeover robberies are terrifying for victims who are going about their daily duties to make a living when guns are put in their faces and they are assaulted,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Suggs and Passineau were determined to steal valuable narcotics and didn’t care who they hurt in the process. These convictions will keep them off the street and are a measure of justice for their victims.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Philadelphia Police Department, Bloomsburg University Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Everett Witherell and Meaghan Flannery.
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