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Justice News

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

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Area Businessman Sentenced For Selling Spice

BOISE –William Oldenburg, 66, of Eagle, Idaho, was sentenced today in United States District Court to three years of probation for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance analogue and conspiracy to structure transactions, U.S. AttorneyWendy J. Olson announced. U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge also ordered Oldenburg to forfeit $580,000, and pay a $5,000 fine. Additionally, Oldenburg will spend the next eight weekends in the Ada County Jail, to be followed by six months home detention, and 200 hours of community service. He pleaded guilty to the charge on March 25, 2013.

According to court documents, Oldenburg is the owner of Gary's Dream, LLC, which operates Boise Beverage and Tobacco and The Pit Stop Express. The businesses, commonly referred to as “head shops,” are engaged in the unlawful sale of drug paraphernalia to drug users and drug traffickers. Items of drug paraphernalia were typically sold at the businesses under the guise of “tobacco products,” or with claims of other “legitimate” uses. According to the indictment, Oldenburg referred to much of the drug paraphernalia as “smoking accessories,” to be used only to smoke tobacco. However, virtually all of the smoking devices sold by Oldenburg were commonly used to ingest marijuana, hashish, and/or other illegal drugs, not tobacco.

Oldenburg admitted that beginning on March 1, 2011, and continuing through May 10, 2012, he knowingly conspired with other persons to distribute and possess with intent to distribute at least 40 kilograms of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of AM-2201 and UR-144, Schedule I controlled substance analogues, knowing the substance was intended for human consumption. Oldenburg further admitted that between at least July 2011, and November 2012, he conspired with others to conduct a series of financial transactions involving the proceeds of the unlawful activity, in order to evade reporting requirements under federal law.

Co-defendant Donovan Johns, 38, of Meridian, Idaho, pleaded guilty on May 14, 2013, to conspiracy to sell, offer for sale, and transport drug paraphernalia and conspiracy to structure transactions. Sentencing is set for July 29, before Judge Lodge.

Oldenburg and Johns are among the 17 people charged last year as part of Operation Not for Human Consumption, which targeted illegal sales of drug paraphernalia and “spice” at 13 Treasure Valley businesses. According to search warrant affidavits, nine of the 13 businesses were openly selling “spice,” a substance that tested positive for AM-2201. The DEA has determined that AM-2201 is a controlled substance analogue. “Spice,” a synthetic form of cannabis, which is a psychoactive herbal and chemical product that, when consumed, mimics the effects of cannabis. In the spring of 2011, the Idaho Legislature criminalized the sale of “spice” under state law. In March of 2011, the Drug Enforcement Administration placed five synthetic cannabinoids into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. It is against federal law to sell or offer for sale any paraphernalia that is primarily intended or designed for drug use, regardless of whether the seller advises their customers that the paraphernalia is for tobacco use only. The businesses are commonly referred to as “head shops.”

Operation Not for Human Consumption includes the cooperative law enforcement efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), 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.

Updated December 15, 2014