Ranquist pleads guilty to robbing pharmacy
Portland — A 43-year-old Cushing man pleaded guilty April 17 to robbing a Rockland pharmacy at knifepoint nine months ago.
Elbert M. Ranquist Jr., changed his plea from not guilty to guilty in federal court and the admission was accepted by Judge Nancy Torresen. He will be sentenced in August, according to court records.
The defendant was indicted Nov. 20 in U.S. District Court in Portland by a federal jury for robbery. The federal charge is a Class C offense, punishable up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to court records.
Ranquist is represented in the federal case by attorney J. Hilary Billings.
Ranquist was originally charged by the state with felony armed robbery, stealing drugs and violating probation after he was arrested at his home Aug. 5 by Maine Drug Enforcement Agents for brandishing a knife at Jensen's Pharmacy and demanding drugs. The state dropped the case against Ranquist as the federal government took over prosecution of the case.
Before the plea hearing was set, a jury was scheduled to be chosen May 5, to hear the case, and the trial may have begun immediately thereafter before U.S District Judge Nancy Torresen, according to a notice from the federal court.
A motion to revoke bail, filed by the state, will be taken up again after the federal case is finalized. If Ranquist is convicted, four years of outstanding time for an arson conviction will be added concurrently to the federal sentence. Ranquist admitted he violated his probation in Knox County Superior Court Feb. 24.
Eric Morse, Ranquist's attorney on the motion to revoke bail portion, said in February he expects the federal case will move quickly.
Courier Publications' reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.