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Five Idahoans indicted in spice bust, authorities say major national player has been taken out

Five people from Boise and Meridian have been indicted on federal charges for smuggling, money laundering, and selling “spice,” a synthetic marijuana product, and authorities say they were operating across the nation. “This investigation has taken out a major player in the synthetic drug industry who was operating coast to coast,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Matthew G. Barnes. “Criminal drug organizations prey on our youth to line their pockets with millions of dollars in drug proceeds. This emerging industry poses a significant threat to our communities and regardless of how they are marketed, we will continue with our law enforcement partners to aggressively pursue them.”

Click below for a full news release from U.S. Attorney for Idaho Wendy Olson; the indictment by a federal grand jury in Boise was unsealed yesterday. The indictments are the result of a joint operation by an array of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. “Although we don't yet know the full toll that these substances that mimic cannabis have taken on users, we do know that emergency room workers, parents and law enforcement officers have terrifying stories of medically dangerous and sometimes deadly reactions,” Olson said. “I commend all of the agencies and prosecutors who spent countless hours bringing the investigation to this point.”


 

Description: Logo B&W 3

U.S. Department of Justice

United States Attorney

District of Idaho

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ON MAY 16, 2013

 

Federal Grand Jury Indicts Five for Conspiracy, Smuggling and Money

Laundering in “Spice” Case

 

BOISE –A federal grand jury in Boise on Tuesday indicted five Boise area residents on four counts of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance analogue; conspiracy to smuggle goods into the United States; conspiracy to sell and transport drug paraphernalia; and conspiracy to launder money, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. The indictment was unsealed by the court on Wednesday.

The five defendants named in the indictment are:

·Mark A. Ciccarello, 35, of Meridian, Idaho

·Robert A. Eoff, 30, of Boise, Idaho

·Troy L. Palmer, 43, of Boise, Idaho

·William B. Mabry, 45, of Boise, Idaho

·Holly F. Ciccarello, 39, of Meridian, Idaho

Mark Ciccarello made his initial appearance in federal court yesterday. Eoff, Palmer, Mabry and Holly Ciccarello appeared this morning. Trial for all defendants is set for July 2, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge.

The indictment alleges that between March 1, 2011 and July 9, 2012, within the states of Idaho, Alaska, California, Washington, and Wisconsin, the defendants conspired to purchase and import from China chemicals known as JWH018, AM2201, UR-144, and XLR11, which they used to treat innocuous plant matter to make “spice”—a synthetic cannabinoid similar to substances listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.The indictment further alleges that the defendants conspired to sell and transport drug paraphernalia for sale, and that they conspired to launder money illegally obtained through their drug, importation and paraphernalia violations. The government is seeking forfeiture of proceeds derived from the alleged criminal activities.

A conviction for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance analogue, as charged in Count One, is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $1 million, and up to three years of supervised release. Conspiracy to smuggle goods into the United States, as charged in Count Two, is punishable by up to five years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release. Conspiracy to sell and transport drug paraphernalia for sale, as charged in Count Three, is punishable by up to three years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to one year of supervised release. Conspiracy to launder money, as charged in Count Four, is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release.

“This indictment demonstrates that Federal, state and local law enforcement in Idaho will vigorously investigate and prosecute those who unlawfully distribute dangerous synthetic substances in our communities,” said Olson. “Although we don't yet know the full toll that these substances that mimic cannabis have taken on users, we do know that emergency room workers, parents and law enforcement officers have terrifying stories of medically dangerous and sometimes deadly reactions. I commend all of the agencies and prosecutors who spent countless hours bringing the investigation to this point.”

“This investigation has taken out a major player in the synthetic drug industry who was operating coast to coast,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Matthew G. Barnes. “Criminal drug organizations prey on our youth to line their pockets with millions of dollars in drug proceeds. This emerging industry poses a significant threat to our communities and regardless of how they are marketed, we will continue with our law enforcement partners to aggressively pursue them.”

The indictment is the result of a joint investigation of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), which included the cooperative law enforcement efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Boise Police Department, Meridian Police Department, Ada County Sheriff’s Office, and Nampa Police Department. Other federal agencies participating in the OCEDTF program include the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and U.S. Marshals Service.

The OCDETF program is a federal, multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations.

An indictment is a means of charging a person with criminal activity. It is not evidence. The person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

 

 

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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