MAY 16 (BOISE, Idaho) - 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. The indictment was unsealed by the court on Wednesday.
“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 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 two 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.
The five defendants named in the indictment are:
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
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.
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, Canyon 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.