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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Idaho

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 17, 2013

Husband And Wife Plead Guilty In Magic Valley “Spice” Case

POCATELLO – Shyloh Becker, 29, of Tigard, Oregon, is the second defendant to plead guilty in Idaho as a result of last summer’s nationwide law enforcement effort called Operation Log Jam, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. Becker pleaded guilty to a superseding information charging her with one count of aiding and abetting in a monetary transaction in property derived from specified unlawful activity.

Co-defendant and husband Joshua P. Becker, 33, also of Tigard, pleaded guilty on May 30, 2013, to conspiracy to launder money.

According to the plea agreement, between March 1, 2011, and June 25, 2012, Joshua Becker owned and operated A & J Distribution with other individuals, including co-defendant Allen W. Nagel. During this time, A & J Distribution distributed brands of smokeable material for further sale, commonly referred to as “spice,” under the “Hayze” label. This material contained a Schedule I controlled substance analogue. Becker admitted that he knew the material was intended for human consumption. Becker and Nagel received money from the sale of the material and engaged in monetary transactions using the funds derived from the sales. The transactions, some in excess of $10,000, included transfers, withdrawals, and deposits through a Twin Falls bank. According to the plea agreement, the total funds involved in the monetary transactions derived from the specific unlawful activity are not more than $400,000.

According to the plea agreement, Shyloh Becker admitted that she aided and abetted her husband in setting up and monitoring the bank account.

The charge of conspiracy to launder money is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $500,000, and up to five years of supervised release.

The charge of aiding and abetting in a monetary transaction in property derived from a specified unlawful activity is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release.

Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill is scheduled to sentence Joshua Becker on August 12, 2013, in Pocatello, and Shyloh Becker on September 4, 2013, in Boise.

The Beckers are two of the six people indicted by a federal grand jury in Pocatello on August 28, 2012, on charges of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance analogue. Three co-defendants, Allen W. Nagel, 44, Gary E. Nagel, 45, and Josh Cserepes, 27, of Twin Falls, Idaho, are scheduled to enter guilty pleas to related charges on June 26.

Fourteen search warrants were executed in July 2012 by law enforcement agencies at 11 locations in Twin Falls County, and three locations in Tigard, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington. Five individuals were arrested following their indictment in July 2012, on federal charges of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance analogue. The warrants were related to a nationwide law enforcement action against the synthetic designer drug industry responsible for the production and sale of dangerous and deadly drugs that are often marketed as bath salts, “spice,” incense, or plant food, which are prohibited under the federal controlled substance analogue statute.

The joint investigation of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), is led by the Drug Enforcement Administration in conjunction with Twin Falls City Police Department, Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Idaho State Police, Ada County Sheriff's Office, Nampa City Police Department, Meridian City Police Department, Gooding County Sheriff's Office, Cassia County Sheriff's Office, and Minidoka County Sheriff's Office.

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.