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“OPERATION PAPPA SMURF”: Two Plead Guilty In Pseudoephedrine Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 01, 2013

Muskogee, Oklahoma - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, announced today that LARRY EUGENE PIRPICH, JR., age 53, of McAlester pled guilty to all counts contained in an Indictment charging him with Conspiracy to Possess and Distribute Pseudoephedrine, a List I Chemical, Used to Manufacture a Controlled Substance in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 846, and 841(c)(2) and 10 counts of Interstate Travel in Aid of Racketeering Enterprises in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1952(a)(3). SHILA ANN PARKER, age 32, of McAlester, Oklahoma pled guilty to Counts Two and Ten of the Indictment charging her with Interstate Travel in Aid of Racketeering Enterprises in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1952(a)(3).

Charges arose from an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, Bureau of Indian Affairs, McAlester Police Department, Oklahoma District Attorney District 18 Drug Task Force, Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Office, Choctaw Nation Tribal Police, Krebs Police Department, Stillwater Police Department, Shawnee Police Department, Tulsa Police Department, Broken Arrow Police Department, Kiowa Police Department, Lamar County Texas Sheriff’s Office, and Sherman, Texas Police Department.

The Indictment alleged that beginning in or about January 2010, and continuing until in or about July 2012, the defendants conspired with one another to possess and distribute a list I chemical, pseudoephedrine, knowing and having reasonable cause to believe the pseudoephedrine would be used to manufacture methamphetamine.

While residing in McAlester, Oklahoma, PARKER and PIRPICH would purchase Pseudoephedrine from locations within Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico for the purpose of manufacturing methamphetamine within the Eastern District of Oklahoma and elsewhere. PARKER and PIRPICH possessed Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, and Ohio state identification which enabled them to make pseudoephedrine purchases in multiple states. The Defendants were aware of the pseudoephedrine purchase limits in Oklahoma and would travel to other states to make pseudoephedrine purchases when their purchase limits had been met in Oklahoma. It is a violation of Title 21 U.S.C. Section 844(a) for a person to knowingly or intentionally purchase at retail during a 30 day period more than 9 grams of pseudoephedrine.

The investigation further revealed that on at least 42 occasions, PARKER and PIRPICH purchased in excess of 9 grams of pseudoephedrine in a single day. During the course of the conspiracy, PARKER individually purchased 1.14 kilograms of pseudoephedrine and PIRPICH individually purchased 1.82 kilograms of pseudoephedrine. In total, both PIRPICH and PARKER purchased approximately 3 kilograms of pseudoephedrine over the course of 2 ½ years. At times throughout the conspiracy, PARKER and PIRPICH would steal, attempt to steal or purchase items utilized in the manufacture of methamphetamine, in addition to pseudoephedrine, such as lithium batteries, camp fuel, denatured alcohol, and acetone.

The Honorable Steven P. Shreder, Magistrate Judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, in Muskogee, accepted the pleas and ordered a presentence investigation report. Formal Sentencing’s will be scheduled upon their completions. Both will remain in the custody of the United States Marshal Service pending sentencing.

The statutory range of punishment for Conspiracy to Possess and Distribute Pseudoephedrine, a List I Chemical, Used to Manufacture a Controlled Substance in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 846, and 841(c)(2) is not more than 20 years imprisonment. The statutory range of punishment for Interstate Travel in Aid of Racketeering Enterprises is not more than 5 years imprisonment.

Mark F. Green, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, stated, “Purchasing pseudoephedrine for the manufacture of methamphetamine has become such an endemic problem within this district and throughout the country, that many states have enacted laws restricting its purchase. Oklahoma was in the forefront of states imposing these restrictions. In spite of these laws, criminals attempt to find ways to circumvent them. This case should be a powerful indication that efforts to get around these laws will not be tolerated. When efforts to evade these laws are discovered, violators will be vigorously prosecuted resulting in lengthy prison sentences.”

The investigation was a combined effort and operation coordinated by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) of the Eastern District of Oklahoma. OCDETF is an initiative led in and coordinated by the Office of the United States Attorney.

Assistant United States Attorney Shannon L. Henson represented the United States.

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