by Andrew Crisp
Law enforcement officials announced the early success of a major, ongoing investigation into the sale and trafficking of drugs in Idaho, including the synthetic cannabis product spice.
U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson made the announcement flanked by representatives of a number of entities who worked together in the investigation.
"Yesterday, a Grand Jury sitting here in Boise delivered 11 indictments against 16 individuals trafficking drug paraphernalia through businesses commonly referred to as head shops," she said.
Ten men and one woman were implicated in the two-year investigation, Operation Headshop—Not For Human Consumption. Most of those indicted range in age from the mid 20s to the late 30s.
Among those indicted are William Oldenburg, 65, owner and operator of the Boise Beverage and Tobacco and Pit Stop Express; Troy Rawlings, president of RG Distributing Inc.; Raj V. Singh, owner of Wonderland Hookah; and Anthony Stoner, owner of Smoke-N-Accessories. All were charged with conspiracy to sell and offering to sell drug paraphernalia.
Others named in the indictments are: Bradley Berquist, Gabriel Adam, Thomas Blumke, Crystal Blumke, Yoke Fee Chan, Hannah Farrar, Ali Mayid Kathem, Antonio Mendoza and Jennifer Dixon.
Officials said Jason Guerrero and Donovan Johns were still at large, but that law enforcement had "good leads" as to their whereabouts.
The Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, 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 all played a part.
Olson said that the investigation sends a message to those selling or trafficking illegal drugs and paraphernalia.
"The businesses that masquerade as selling legitimate tobacco products but actually sell drug paraphernalia will face law enforcement. ... These businesses should be very concerned that law enforcement will look at these things very closely," said Olson.