Last of Four Spice Conspirators Sentenced
BOISE, ID—Mark Ciccarello, 37, of Boise, Idaho, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court to 37 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release for conspiring to launder money, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge also ordered Ciccarello to pay $4.5 million in asset forfeiture, and to pay a $3,000 fine. Ciccarello will self-surrender, as directed by the United States Bureau of Prisons.
Ciccarello is the last of the defendants charged with manufacturing controlled substance analogues and laundering the money from selling these substances nationwide. The Indictment alleged that Ciccarello and three co-conspirators, Troy Palmer, William Mabry, and Robert Eoff, conspired to purchase and import from China chemicals known as AM2201, UR-144, and XLR11, which they use to treat innocuous plant matter to make “spice”Ca synthetic cannabinoid similar to substances—including JWH018—listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. The most popular spice product they made was called “Zombie Matter,” which also became the name of the marketing enterprise set up by Ciccarello. The Indictment alleged that they conspired to launder money illegally obtained through spice manufacturing and distribution.
According to court documents, Ciccarello admitted that he was a leader in a conspiracy to conduct financial transactions in connection with a “spice” manufacturing and distribution business, beginning in March 2011. Ciccarello also admitted to knowingly participating in and directing the financial activity of the business by engaging in bank and other financial transactions, through both domestic and foreign financial institutions. The transactions consisted of the proceeds of illegal spice sales and other specified unlawful activity and, in many cases, the transactions conducted through financial institutions separately consisted of criminally derived property of a value greater than $10,000; most of the transactions occurred in Idaho, Washington and California.
The case is the result of a joint investigation of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), which included the cooperative law enforcement efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Boise Police Department, Meridian Police Department, Ada County Sheriff’s Office, Canyon County Sheriff’s Office, and Nampa Police Department. Other federal agencies participating in the OCEDTF program include the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and U.S. Marshals Service.
The OCDETF program is a federal, multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations.