Meridian man pleads guilty to "spice"-related money laundering

January 6, 2014 

Mark A. Ciccarello, 36, of Meridian pleaded guilty U.S. District Court Monday to money laundering as part of a Treasure Valley "Spice" case, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced.

Ciccarello and four co-defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury in May on charges of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance analogue, conspiracy to smuggle goods into the United States, conspiracy to sell and transport drug paraphernalia and conspiracy to launder money.He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge on March 24.

According to court proceedings, Ciccarello admitted to being a leader and organizer in a conspiracy to launder money between March 2011 and May 2013. The money laundering was related to his operation of a business called Zombie Matter. Ciccarello pleaded guilty to engaging in bank and other financial transactions through criminally derived property associated with the “Spice” business. During this period, through a series of monetary transactions in amounts over $10,000, Ciccarello removed more than $4.5 million in currency from three Zombie Matter accounts.

"Spice" refers to a wide variety of herbal mixtures that reportedly produce experiences similar to marijuana. The Idaho Legislature made Spice illegal in 2010.

Co-defendant Robert A. Eoff, 31, and William Burr Mabry, 46, both of Boise, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money last year. Eoff is set for sentencing on March 11; Mabry on March 25. Two other defendants, Troy L. Palmer, 43, of Boise, and Holly F. Ciccarello, 39, of Meridian, are set for trial on February 25.

The charge of conspiracy to launder money is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release.

The indictment is the result of a joint investigation of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force, which includes an array of local and federal agencies.

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