Federal authorities announced that a Passaic County man was arrested in connection with two armed robberies of pharmacies for prescription medication.
According to federal officials, Antonio Rivera, 46, of Paterson, is charged by complaint with one count of interference with commerce by robbery, one count of attempted interference with commerce by robbery, and one count of using, carrying, and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
Federal officials say Rivera made his initial appearance in Newark federal court and was detained.
According to the complaint and statements made in court:
In February and April 2023, Rivera robbed and attempted to rob two pharmacies in Paterson and Passaic, New Jersey.
Court documents state that during these robberies, Rivera fired his gun and pointed it at numerous victims. Ballistic evidence shows that the same firearm was used in both robberies.
On Feb. 8, Rivera robbed a Paterson pharmacy at gunpoint, shooting one time and demanding Percocet, Morphine, and Oxycodone pills.
According to authorities, one pharmacy employee placed medication bottles inside Rivera’s backpack. Rivera discharged another round, after which another pharmacy employee gave Rivera cash from the cash register.
Authorities say on April 5, Rivera attempted to rob a Passaic pharmacy at gunpoint, raising a handgun to a pharmacy employee’s head and demanding that the employee put money from the cash register in a bag. When the employee refused, Rivera demanded pills while pointing the handgun at other pharmacy employees and fired a shot before fleeing the pharmacy through the rear.
The interference with commerce by robbery and attempted interference with commerce by robbery counts each carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison.
The discharging of a firearm during a crime of violence count carries a maximum of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, which must run consecutive to any other prison term. Each count also carries a potential $250,000 fine.