A man who hid illicit pills inside stuffed teddy bears later shipped to Boise pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone.
Ajellon “Jeezy” Dedeaux, 26, changed his plea during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge. Dedeaux, who faces up to 20 years in prison, is scheduled to be sentenced May 26.
Two other defendants, Andrew Colwell, 23, and Jordan Baptista, 19, both of Boise, also appeared in court Tuesday. Colwell pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge, while Baptista, who earlier pleaded guilty to the same charge, was placed on three years probation.
Dedeaux lives in Rancho Cordova, east of Sacramento, and sent regular shipments through the U.S. Postal Service and FedEx to various addresses in Boise and Meridian, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration affidavit filed in the case.
The Boise-based group sold 5,000 oxycodone pills a month over a three-year period to addicts in the Treasure Valley, the U.S. Attorney’s office reports.
One shipment seized in February 2014 contained a stuffed bear, a box of crayons and a "Friends Together" diary. Two hundred 30-milligram tablets of oxycodone were found hidden in the bear, according to the indictment filed against Dedeaux.
The shipment was to be delivered to the home of drug dealer Christopher Snyder, 24, at 2973 S. Colorado Ave. in Boise. Snyder earlier pleaded guilty and was sentenced in January to more than seven years in prison. He was also ordered to forfeit $1 million in drug profits.
Another package seized in early March that was destined for an address on West Producer Drive in Meridian contained 480 oxycodone pills concealed inside a teddy bear.
A car belonging to defendant Andrew Colwell, 23, of Boise, was secretly fitted with a GPS device that allowed police to track the car between Boise and Sacramento. Colwell told investigators after he was arrested that all of the shipments destined for Idaho from Dedeaux were sent to Snyder and co-defendant Austin Serb, 20.
Serb told investigators that a normal package from Dedeaux contained up to 500 oxycodone pills concealed inside stuffed animals or candles. Dedeaux, he said, would only ship to a given address two or three times before asking for a new address to minimize suspicion.
Oxycodone is a prescription painkiller used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is widely abused, according to the Food and Drug Administration; a 2001-04 study of patients in addiction treatment programs suggested most who abuse it obtain it without a prescription and without a medical reason to have the drug.
Information contained in the indictment said that in at least one instance, the pills sold by the Boise ring went for three for $100. At that rate, the gang could have taken in $6 million over the three years.
Serb told investigators that Dedeaux communicated with the Boise dealers through encrypted text messages and that payments were deposited into bank accounts specified by Dedeaux.
Two other defendants, Serb and James Acarregui, 29, both from Boise, pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge. Serb is scheduled to be sentenced April 23, while Acarregui is set for sentencing April 6. They each face up to 20 years in prison.
Seven other defendants pleaded guilty in the case and have been sentenced:
• Jordan Grainger, 24, Meridian, 48 months; $100,000.
• Jeffery Manchester, 28, Renton, Wash., 37 months; $32,000.
• Ellen McDaniel, 44, Boise, 30 months; $20,000.
• Kai Wachi, 20, Boise, 21 months; $60,000.
• Jared Hicks, 22, Boise, 18 months; $40,000.
• Tyler Goodwin, 28, Shelton, Wash., 10 months; $3,000.
• Kevin Daniels, 19, Boise, 3 years probation; $7,500.