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Tag: West Virginia

Retired FBI agent Leads New West Virginia Agency Handling Prison, Jail, Juvenile Services

Jennifer Wilson.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A retired FBI agent will lead a new agency within West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

Military Affairs Secretary Jeff Sandy appointed Jennifer Wilson in late December to serve as director of the agency’s Division of Administrative Services, which consolidated the state’s prison, jail and juvenile services systems.

The state agency was established in 2018 to provide services that range from human resources and recruiting to contracts and payroll.

Wilson joined the FBI in 1997 and worked for the bureau in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New York and Pittsburgh. She retired last year before working for the legal team of the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

“I am honored to be named the director of DAS,” Wilson said in a news release. “Over the last 60 days, as the acting director, I have been impressed with the leadership team here and the employees’ dedication and commitment to the success of the newest division of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. I plan to focus the next year on completing the staffing and developing more efficient systems to serve the DMAPS agencies.”

Former ATF Security Guard Gets 14 Years in Prison for Stealing Firearms, Ammunition from Agency

Christopher Lee Yates

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former contract security guard who stole guns, ammunition and firearms parts from the ATF and then sold them was sentenced Monday to 14 years in prison.

Christopher Lee Yates, of Martinsburg, W.V., admitted in court that he stole the items from ATF’s National Firearms and Ammunition Destruction Branch facility near Martinsburg.

An investigation found that Yates stole the guns, ammunition and firearm parts while serving as a security guard from 2016 to 2019.

The theft prompted an investigation that helped the ATF recover 4,625 guns and firearm parts. They included 120 rifles, 60 pistols, four automatic machine guns and three components to make rocket launchers, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

What remains unclear is why the ATF didn’t have safeguards in place to avoid the thefts.

Authorities Search for ‘Substantial’ Number of Firearms Stolen From ATF Facility in West Virginia

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities are searching for a “substantial” number of firearms and gun parts stolen from a government disposal facility in Martinsburg, W.Va., USA Today reports.

Christopher Yates, a security contractor assigned to the ATF  repository in West Virginia, has been charged in connection with the missing weapons and parts.

Yates has allegedly acknowledged transferring at least some of the stolen property to an unidentified person Maryland.

 

Congressional Committee Threatens DEA with Subpoena Over ‘Pill Dumping’

pillsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Growing impatient with the DEA dragging its feet on the opioid epidemic, members of the Energy and Commerce Committee are threatening to subpoena the agency for information on “pill dumping” in West Virginia.

Chairman of the committee, Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., blasted the DEA for its failure to fully respond to a May 8 request for data on drug suppliers sending millions of opioids into the state, the Hill reports

“Enough is enough. Will you, on behalf of the DEA, commit today to producing the documents and information we requested, and soon? Or do we simply need to issue a subpoena? Because we are done waiting,” Walden said to DEA Deputy Assistant Administrator Neil Doherty at a hearing. 

West Virginia has been at the center of the opioid crisis, leading the nation in drug overdose deaths.

Drug suppliers pumped 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills into the state in six years, according to an investigation by the Charleston Gazette-Mail. 

Homeland Security Analyst Pleads Guilty to Making Illegal Gun Silencers

homeland2department-of-homeland-security-logo-300x300By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Homeland Security analyst who carried a gun, knife, handcuffs, pepper spray and an infrared camera into the agency’s headquarters in June pleaded guilty Wednesday to making illegal silencers.

Jonathan Wienke faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine after authorities also found explosives and gun silencers at his Martinsburg home in West Virginia, the Associated Press reports. 

Wienke likely won’t serve anywhere close to 10 years in prison because of a deal with prosecutors for a reduced sentence.

Authorities said there was “no indication” that Wienke planned violence in the workplace.

Ex-Homeland Security Supervisor Suspected of Using Government Credit Card to Gamble

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former Homeland Security supervisor is accused of using his government-issued credit card to gamble at a West Virginia casino.

WHAG News reports that Gene Protogiannis, 55, of Virginia, has been indicted on 45 counts of wire fraud for allegedly using his card in 2013 to obtain cash advances at the Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, West Virginia.

Officials said Protogiannis withdrew $115,853.

Protogiannis is expected to be formally charged Wednesday and will face up to 20 years in prison.

STORIES OF OTHER INTEREST

West Virginia Homeland Security Officer Critically Shot at Home Near Charleston

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The training coordinator for the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security was shot in the chest and was in critical condition as of late Monday, the West Virginia Gazette reports.

Frank Kennedy was found at his home near Charleston where he apparently shot himself intentionally.

Kennedy underwent surgery Sunday night and remained in critical condition, hospital officials said.

State Homeland Security Director Jimmy Gianato said he couldn’t confirm whether the shooting was intentional.

“At this point he’s in the hospital,” Gianato told the Gazette. “The last we heard he was in the ICU.”

 OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Column: On Gun Control, Courage in Short Supply

atf file photo

By Dana Milbank
Washington Post Columnist

WASHINGTON — The gun bill was going down, but Sen. Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat who reached a compromise to try to save it, went to the Senate floor Wednesday morning to give it one more try.

In an unorthodox tactic, he appealed directly to the woman taking her turn in the presiding officer’s chair, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), one of the few remaining undeclared lawmakers.

“I think there is a time in our life, a defining time in public service,” he said, “when you know the facts are on your side and walk into the lion’s den.” Manchin, usually plain-spoken, was emotional and personal, making several references to Heitkamp and her state. “Even if politics are risky,” he said, “remember the words of Andrew Jackson: ‘The brave man inattentive to his duty is worth little more to his country than the coward who deserts in the hour of danger.’ ”

To read full column click here.