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Justice News

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

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Indictment Unsealed Charging Eight Individuals with Conspiracy to Distribute Oxycodone, Money Laundering

Aaron Peila Charged With Engaging In A Continuing Criminal Enterprise


            SALT LAKE CITY - A federal indictment unsealed Monday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City charges eight individuals with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering. The indictment is the fifth and final indictment following a significant oxycodone distribution investigation. Including the defendants charged in the indictment unsealed Monday, 31 individuals have been charged as a part of the case.

            Aaron Peila, age 31, who has lived in Utah and Nevada, is charged with engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise in the first count of the indictment. The indictment alleges Peila obtained substantial income and resources through his violations of federal drug and money laundering laws and that his actions were undertaken in concert with at least five other persons over whom he occupied a position of organizer, supervisor, or any other position of management.

            Peila, who is serving a federal prison sentence for a firearms conviction, allegedly set up a distribution network for oxycodone in Utah. Many of the distributors involved in the network were previously indicted as a part of the ongoing investigation.

            Also charged in the indictment unsealed Monday are Jonas Newell, age 29, of Provo; Candace Newman, age 27, of Las Vegas; Mark Jaffe, age 33, of Salt Lake City; Carolyn Barrera, age 30, of Salt Lake City; Kevin Lynch, age 53, of Las Vegas; and Jason Junior, age 45, and Syndi Junior, age 33, both of Pleasant Grove. Jaffe, Barrera, and Newell appeared in federal court Monday in Salt Lake City. Barrera was released on conditions. A detention hearing will be held Wednesday for Jaffe. Newell’s detention hearing will be Friday. Other defendants are making appearances in Idaho and Las Vegas this week.

            The majority of counts in the indictment charge Peila and others named in the indictment with conspiracies to distribute oxycodone and conspiracy to commit money laundering from about May 2007 through various periods of time up to June 2012.

            The continuing criminal enterprise charge carries a mandatory-minimum 20- year penalty with a maximum penalty of life and a maximum fine of $2 million. The drug trafficking conspiracy counts each have 20-year potential penalties with fines of $2 million. The money laundering counts carry a maximum penalty of 20 years and fines of up to $500,000.

            An indictment is not a finding of guilt. Individuals charged in indictments are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in court.

            The case is being investigated by special agents of the DEA and IRS and Salt Lake City police officers. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Utah.

Updated March 17, 2015