Youngstown man pleads guilty in W. Va. drug case

CLARKSBURG, West Virginia. A Youngstown man pleaded guilty Monday in West Virginia for participating in a scheme to distribute bath salts and defrauding the IRS out of more than $200,000 through 2012.

John Nicholas Skruck, 59, sold the bath salts and other synthetic drugs as a former manager of the Hot Stuff Cool Things store in Clarksburg, West Virginia.

He pleaded guilty to one count of drug conspiracy and one count of structuring monetary transactions to evade the reporting requirement.

Skruck faces 20 years in prison and fine of up to $1 million on the conspiracy charge and up to ten years and a fine of $500,000 on the structuring charge.

As part of the pleas, Skruck agreed to forfeit parcels of property, cash, bank accounts, heavy equipment, vehicles, a trailer and professional embroidery machine.

In connection to the case, Jeffrey J. Paglia, of Clarksburg, owner of Hot Stuff Cool Things, was sentenced to 87 months in prison while Jeremia J. Phillips and Derrick L. Calip were each sentenced to 21 months in prison.

The IRS Criminal Investigations, the Three Rivers Drug and Violent Crime Task Force and the Greater Harrison County Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative, are leading the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert McWilliams and Shawn Morgan are prosecuting the case on behalf of the government, while U.S. District Judge Irene M. Keeley presided.

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