Two Massachusetts men were each sentenced in federal court to more than 15 years in prison for their roles in the armed robbery of a medical marijuana caregiver in Maine in 2019, the acting US Attorney for Maine said in a statement.
Eric Mercardo, 33, of Lowell, was sentenced to 16 years in prison with four years supervised release, and Steven Hardy, 33, of Maynard, was sentenced to 15 and a half years with four years of supervised release, the US attorney’s office said. Both men were also ordered to $3,740 to the victim, a medical marijuana caregiver based in York, Maine.
Both men were charged with interfering with commerce through acts of violence, conspiring to do so, and discharging a firearm during the acts of violence, the US attorney’s office said.
Mercardo was arrested in Georgia and Hardy was arrested in Maynard on Aug. 5, 2019.
Authorities say Mercardo, Hardy, and “other persons” drove from Lowell to the caregiver’s residence in York, Maine, on May 11, 2019, where they planned to rob the victim of money and marijuana.
“Some of the members of the conspiracy posed as friends of the caregiver to gain entry into the house and socialized with the caregiver,” the US attorney’s office said. “While the caregiver and these persons were socializing, Mercado and Hardy entered the house through a door that had been unlocked by a member of the conspiracy.”
Mercardo was armed with a 12-gauge shotgun and Hardy had a 9mm pistol, the US attorney’s office said. Both men were wearing masks.
The men ordered the victim to get on the ground and demanded money and marijuana, but the victim refused and fled to another part of the house. Mercardo and Hardy chased the victim and fired their weapons at the victim but missed, prosecutors said.
Mercardo and Hardy continued to chase the victim as they fled from the house and down the driveway. Hardy fired at them and missed again, the US attorney’s office said.
Mercardo and Hardy returned to the house where they stole the victim’s truck and fled the scene, the US attorney’s office said. The pair crashed the truck a short time later and took off into the woods on foot. They were later picked up by the driver who had dropped them at the house before the robbery, the US attorney’s office said.
A York police officer, responding to a 911 call reporting the incident, observed a vehicle in the area of the robbery and took down its license plate. Authorities concluded the vehicle was rented by the person whom Mercardo had recruited to drive him and Hardy to the victim’s house, the US attorney’s office said.
The FBI was brought in to help with the investigation. In September 2019, after learning Mercardo threw the shotgun away while fleeing through the woods, FBI investigators searched the area and recovered the shotgun submerged in mud, the US attorney’s office said.
The FBI, the York Police Department, and the York County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case, the US attorney’s office said.