14 Arrests for Conspiring to Sell Drug Paraphernalia in
May 15, 2012 – (Boise, Idaho) - Fourteen people are in custody following the execution of multiple federal search warrants on May 10, 2012, involving 13 Treasure Valley headshops. The multi-year investigation was dubbed Operation Headshop - Not for Human Consumption . On May 9, 2012, 16 subjects were indicted by a federal Grand jury who returned eleven separate indictments alleging drug paraphernalia charges. All of the indictments alleged sales of drug paraphernalia at retail establishments.
“Criminal organizations that masquerade as legitimate storefronts to sell drug paraphernalia to our children will not be tolerated,” said Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Matthew G. Barnes. “The DEA, along with our federal, state and local partners will continue to use every resource available to pursue those responsible.”
The 11 indictments unsealed by the court which focused on the illegal sale of drug paraphernalia and the sale of “spice”. According to the indictments, the retail establishments, which are commonly referred to as “headshops,” are businesses engaged in the unlawful sale of drug paraphernalia to drug users and drug traffickers. The drug paraphernalia were typically sold under the guise of “tobacco products,” or with claims of other “legitimate” uses. Drug paraphernalia included glass, metal, wooden and ceramic smoking pipes/bongs, bubblers, water pipes, vaporizers and grinders.
In the spring of 2011, the Idaho Legislature criminalized the sale of specific compounds of synthetic cannabis, often called “spice”. In March 2011, the Drug Enforcement Administration placed five synthetic cannabinoids into the Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. “Spice” is a general term that refers to synthetic cannabis, which is a psychoactive herbal and chemical product. When consumed, it mimics the effects of cannabis.
According to the search warrant affidavits, nine of the thirteen businesses were openly selling “spice”. Those businesses included Boise Beverage and Tobacco, One Stop Smoke Shack, Royal Smoke, Smoke N Accessorys, Smoke Shack, Smoke Shack 2, the Pit Stop, All Sunshine, and Wonderland Hookah. The search warrant affidavits stated that undercover law enforcement personnel purchased substances from area headshops that tested positive for AM-2201, one of the substances that the Drug Enforcement Administration has determined is a controlled substance analogue.
The sixteen defendants named in the federal indictments are:
• Bradley Berquist, 30, owner/operator of Twenty After, and co-owner Gabriel Adam Busby, 37, of Boise;
• Thomas Blumke, 38, owner/operator of Other World Gallery, LLC, and manager Crystal Blumke, 32, both of Horseshoe Bend, Idaho;
• Yoke Fee Chan, 31, of Boise, owner/operator of Royal Smoke, LLC;
• Hannah Farrar, 24, of Boise, manager of Piece of Mind;
• Ali Mayid Kathem, 27, of Boise, employee of One Stop Smoke Shack;
• Antonio Mendoza, 33, of Eagle and Jennifer Dixon, 38, of Boise, employees of All Sunshine, LLC;
• William Oldenburg, 65, of Eagle, owner/operator of Boise Beverage and Tobacco and Pit Stop Express, and Donovan Johns, 37, of Meridian, Idaho, co-owner/operator of Boise Beverage and Tobacco;
• Troy A. Rawlings, 32, of Meridian, president of RG Distributing, Inc., which owns the Smoke Shack and Smoke Shack 2, and company treasurer Jason Guerrero, 33, of Boise;
• Adam Schreiner, 25, of Boise, owner/operator of Bernen's Pipe Shop, LLC;
• Raj V. Singh, age unknown, of Boise, owner/manager of Wonderland Hookah and Tobacco Shop; and
• Anthony Stoner, 33, of Eagle, Idaho, owner/operator of Smoke-N-Accessories.
Guerrero and Johns are the only two not yet in custody. Warrants for their arrest are outstanding. Oldenburg and Jones are also charged with conspiracy to structure financial transactions. Structuring is manipulating financial transactions to evade currency reporting requirements imposed on financial institutions. It is unlawful to cause a trade or business to fail to file the required report, or to structure a transaction with the intent to evade the reporting requirement.
The charges of conspiracy to sell, offer for sale, and transport drug paraphernalia; offering drug paraphernalia for sale; and sale of drug paraphernalia are each punishable by up to three years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to one year of supervised release. The indictments include a forfeiture allegation. In addition to the conspiracy charges, Oldenburg and Johns also face up to ten years in prison, a maximum fine of $500,000, and up to three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to structure financial transactions.
This was an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration in cooperation with the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Boise Police Department, Ada County Sheriff's Office, Canyon County Sheriff's Office, Nampa Police Department, Meridian Police Department, and the Canyon County Prosecutor's Office. The U.S. Marshals Service and Idaho State Police provided assistance in arresting the defendants named in the indictments.
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.