Head Shop Owner Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy Charges in Treasure Valley Case
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 25, 2013|
BOISE—William Oldenburg, 66, of Eagle, Idaho, pleaded guilty today in federal court to count four of the superseding indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute controlled substance analogue and count 10 charging him with conspiracy to structure transactions, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. The indictment was returned by a federal grand jury in Boise on November 15, 2012.
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 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 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; and 813.45 kilograms of a mixture and substance containing AM-2201 or UR-144, both controlled substance analogues.
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.
Conspiracy to distribute controlled substance analogue, as charged in count four of the superseding indictment, is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $1 million, and up to three years of supervised release. Conspiracy to structure transactions, as charged in count 10, is punishable by up to five years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release. The government is seeking forfeiture of assets derived from the criminal offenses, including cash, real property, and personal property.
Sentencing is set for June 17, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge at the federal courthouse in Boise.
Oldenburg is among the 17 individuals 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.