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Tag: West Virginia

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.

Mining Company Reduces Accident Rate As Part of Fed Deal

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The massive coal mining company that reached an agreement six months ago to avoid federal charges over the 2010 mine explosion in West Virginia that killed 29 workers has significantly reduced accident and injury rates, the Associated Press reports.

Alpha Natural Resources also is breaking ground on an $18 million training center designed to teach miners how to handle dangerous conditions as part of the pact with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin told the Associated Press that accidents are down by a third and the injury rate dropped by a quarter.

An explosion in the southern West Virginia mine in April 2010 killed 29 workers.

Hackers Obtain, Publish Personal Info of Police Officers

istock photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating hackers affiliated with the group Anonymous that obtained the personal information of some West Virginia police officers and posted the information online, in what the hackers called a warning against police brutality, reports ABC.

The group of hackers, referred to as the CabinCr3w by the West Virginia Chiefs of Police Association’s President William Roper, obtained the personal information of more than 150 police officers, according to ABC. The police association has a new website, but the hackers were able to access databases kept on an old association site which still had the information stored.

In an online message, the CabinCr3w wrote:

“We are here to remind you that we the taxpayers pay your exorbitant salaries, and those salaries of your officers. Your job is to protect and serve, not brutalize the very people that pay your wages. Muzzle your dogs of war, or we will expose more of your sensative (sic) information.”

To read more click here.

 

 

West Virginia Man Pleads to Selling ATF Badge to an Informant

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s good to have an entrepreneurial spirit, but not if it involves thievery.

Timothy Nathan Todd, 41, of Huntington, W. Va. pleaded guilty this week in federal court to selling an ATF badge to an informant working for the local ATF task force last October, according to the Huntington News.

He also admitted that he knew the badge had been stolen from the car of an ATF agent in Huntington, the paper reported.

 

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