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Press Release

Youngstown, Ohio Man Convicted In Bath Salts And Synthetic Drug Distribution Operation

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of West Virginia

1125 Chapline Street, Federal Building, Suite 3000 ● Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-0100 ● Contact: Tara Tighe, Public Affairs Specialist

CLARKSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – John Skruck, 59, of Youngstown, Ohio, was convicted in federal court for his role in distributing bath salts and synthetic drugs through local retail stores, United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced today.

Skruck was a manager of the Hot Stuff Cool Things retail shops in Clarksburg and Buckhannon. He admitted that he participated in a scheme to distribute bath salts. Skruck further admitted to structuring financial transactions to shield more than $200,000.00 from the reporting requirements of the Internal Revenue Service throughout 2012.

Skruck pled guilty to one count of “Drug Conspiracy,” for which he faces 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000.00. He also pled guilty to one count of “Structuring Monetary Transactions to Evade the Reporting Requirement,” for which he faces up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.00. He also agreed to forfeit multiple parcels of real property, U.S. currency and bank accounts, vehicles, heavy equipment, a trailer, and a professional embroidery machine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Three others have already been sentenced in connection with the drug distribution operation. Jeffrey J. Paglia, of Clarksburg, West Virginia, owner of the Hot Stuff Cool Things store in Rosebud Plaza, was sentenced to 87 months in prison. Jeremia J. Phillips and Derrick L. Calip were each sentenced to 21 months in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert McWilliams and Shawn Morgan are prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, the Three Rivers Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, and the Greater Harrison County Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative, are leading the investigation.

U.S. District Judge Irene M. Keeley presided.

Updated January 7, 2015