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Prichard man sentenced to almost 23 years for knocking off pharmacies

Reginald Howell.
Reginald Howell.(Mobile County Metro Jail)
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 5:55 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a Prichard man to more than two decades in prison for a string of pharmacy holdups and burglaries.

U.S. District Judge Terry Moorer sentenced Reginald Jejuan Howell, 31, to 22 years and nine months in prison, followed by five years of supervised released. He also must pay $26,390 in restitution.

Howell pleaded guilty in July to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute drugs, robbery and brandishing a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. His sentencing had been delayed for months – first because of questions about his mental competency and then by his efforts to take back his guilty plea.

The judge rejected that bid earlier this month.

Law enforcement officers arrested Howell in February 2018. He admitted that he recruited others to steal money and drugs from several pharmacies. The stores hit by the group included:

  • A Walmart store on Dawes Road October 2016. A lookout called Howell and tipped him off when employees were changing out the cash drawers, according to the defendant’s written plea agreement. Howell and the lookout, each armed with a handgun, robbed an employee.
  • A Walgreens on Moffett Road in Semmes in May 2017. Howell and his co-conspirators burglarized the store and parked a getaway car behind a church on Snow Road. Investigators founded large amounts of prescription drugs and clothing with Howell’s DNA.
  • A Walgreens on Cottage Hill Road in July 2017. The defendants tried unsuccessfully to break into the building. They left and then broke into a Walgreens on Government Street that same day. The plea agreement indicates the defendants used a sledgehammer to gain entry and then put drugs into plastic trash bags and buckets. Police later found a 9mm Ruger gun and the drugs from a vehicle that Howell had wrecked.
  • A Walgreens on Cottage Hill Road in January 2018. Howell and two others used a crowbar to break through the pharmacy’s exterior door near where the employees were working. The workers ran from the front to back of the store. According to the plea agreement, the robbers held three employees at gunpoint.

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