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Oregon man nabbed in synthetic marijuana crackdown sentenced to 4 years

POCATELLO — An Oregon man arrested last year during a nationwide crackdown dubbed Operation Log Jam that targeted "spice" dealers was sentenced to four years in prison and three years' supervised release for conspiracy to launder money.

Joshua P. Becker, 33, of Portland, Ore., pleaded guilty in May. He and his co-conspirators operated A&J Distribution, which distributed brands of synthetic marijuana or "spice" as it is commonly known. The smokable drugs they distributed were laced with XLR11, a schedule I controlled substance analogue. Court records say Becker and his co-conspirator, Allen W. Nagel, 44, of Twin Falls, received money from the sale of the synthetic drugs and engaged in monetary transactions using the funds derived from the illegal sales. The transactions, some in excess of $10,000, included transfers, withdrawals and deposits through a Twin Falls bank.

Nagel pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to launder money and is due to be sentenced in January. In October, three other co-defendants were each sentenced to 36 months' probation and fined for their roles in the drug scheme.

Operation Log Jam targeted every level of the synthetic drug industry in more than 80 U.S. cities. As part of this case, 14 search warrants were executed in July 2012 by the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) agencies at 11 locations in Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

The OCDETF is led by the Drug Enforcement Administration in conjunction with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations; the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Idaho State Police; the Twin Falls, Nampa and Meridian police departments; and the Twin Falls County, Ada County, Gooding County, Minidoka County and Cassia County sheriff's offices.

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.