U.S. Attorney Will Thompson Presents 2022 Law Enforcement Awards | USAO-SDWV

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – United States Attorney Will Thompson honored an array of federal, state and local law enforcement professionals today for their outstanding contributions to investigations and cases in the Southern District of West Virginia.

During a ceremony at the Robert C. Byrd U.S. Courthouse in Charleston, Thompson presented 2022 Law Enforcement Awards to more than 60 individuals.

The awards recognize both invaluable assistance within specific categories of cases and office initiatives as well as overall exemplary service over the past year:

 

Category: Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force

Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigations identify, disrupt, and dismantle the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States.  OCDETF investigations use a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

Operation Shutdown Corner (U.S. vs. Jones, 5:19-cr-227):

Special Agent Jennifer King, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Forensic Examiner Melinda Cash, FBI

Staff Operations Specialist Rose Chestnut, FBI

Intelligence Analyst Sarah Cole, FBI

Resident Agent in Charge David Bullard, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Special Agent Rob DiDomenico, U.S. Postal Inspection Service

Sergeant Rob Richards, West Virginia State Police – Bureau of Criminal Investigation

Detective David Snuffer, Beckley Police Department

Detective Will Reynolds, Beckley Police Department

Sergeant Brian Acord, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department

Detective Ray Hall, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department

 

For a multi-jurisdictional, long-term investigation that targeted a drug-trafficking organization (DTO) operating between California and the Southern District of West Virginia. All 17 defendants charged in the case have been convicted, with the final defendant sentenced to more than 16 years in prison. The investigation linked the defendants to large quantities of methamphetamine and heroin mixed with fentanyl as well as to firearms shipped back to California. Approximately 26 firearms were recovered along with a bump stock, a device that allows semi-automatic firearms to operate as machine guns.

 

 

Operation Second Wave (includes U.S. vs. Terrell, 2:20-cr-154):

Special Agent Jennifer King, FBI

Special Agent Michael McDonald, FBI

Special Agent Georgia Marshall, FBI

Special Agent John Reese, FBI

Special Agent Jarred Shockey, FBI

Staff Operations Specialist Rose Chestnut, FBI

Forensic Examiner Melinda Cash, FBI

Forensic Accountant Tammie Blundon, FBI

Resident Agent in Charge David Bullard, ATF

Special Agent Ben Henrich, Drug Enforcement Administration

Postal Inspector Josh Mehall, U.S. Postal Inspection Service

Special Agent Todd Phillips, U.S. Postal Service-Office of Inspector General

Sergeant Curtis Adkins, West Virginia State Police-BCI

Detective Owen Morris, Charleston Police Department

Detective Brian Middleton, Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department

Detective Jon Vernon, Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department

Deputy Steve Martin, Putnam County Sheriff’s Department

 

For an investigation that resulted in the dismantling of a drug-trafficking operation (DTO) that involved the distribution of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana THC products in Kanawha and Fayette counties. More than a dozen individuals were convicted in the case, with five of them each sentenced to at least 10 years in prison. Those convicted included a United States Postal Service mail carrier who delivered drugs to the co-conspirators in packages addressed to fictitious individuals along his route.

 

 

Category: Project Safe Neighborhoods

Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts, and is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.

U.S. vs. Boone (3:21-cr-101):

Detective Stephen Maniskas, Huntington Police Department

Lieutenant Ryan Bentley, Huntington Police Department

Sergeant Ronnie Lusk, Huntington Police Department

PFC Jordan McClellan, Huntington Police Department

PFC Bradley Koeppen, Huntington Police Department

Patrolman Ryan Donoho, Huntington Police Department

Patrolman Sean Brinegar, Huntington Police Department

Patrolman Hun Tak, Huntington Police Department

 

For the successful prosecution of an eight-time felon captured after a shooting and resulting police pursuit in Huntington. A stolen firearm was found in the vehicle of the defendant, who was sentenced to more than eight years in prison.

 

 

Category: Drug & Violent Crime

 

U.S. vs. Fields (2:20-cr-00128):

Officer William Keith McGraw, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Police

 

For investigating a Fayette County man suspected of deer poaching, who was later determined to be convicted of voluntary manslaughter for beating a young woman to death with a tire iron. The investigation resulted in federal convictions for being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and the defendant was sentenced to six year and six months in prison.

 

 

Category: Project Safe Childhood

 

Project Safe Childhood (PSC) is a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

 

U.S. vs. Humphrey (5:21-cr-5):

Special Agent Phil Gunther, FBI

Special Agent James Harrison, FBI

Forensic Examiner Melinda Cash, FBI

Detective Wayne Long, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department

Detective E. E. Simon, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department

Detective C.D. Suman, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department

Detective R. A. Robinson, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department

Detective R. S. Queen, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department

Captain L. D. Lilly, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department

Sergeant Steven A. Sommers, Mercer County Sheriff’s Department

Detective Jarred Payne, Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department

 

For the investigation and successful prosecution of a Beckley man who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the attempted production of child pornography.

 

 

FBI Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force:

Supervisory Special Agent Tony Rausa, FBI

Special Agent Jared Jankowski, FBI (Task Force Coordinator)

Special Agent Genevieve Baushke, FBI (Task Force Coordinator)

 

The FBI Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force was recognized for its work in the Humphrey case as well as additional successful prosecutions, including of a Berkeley County man sentenced to 15 years in prison for attempted enticement of a minor; a Virginia man sentenced to 15 years in prison for attempted sex trafficking of a minor; and an Upshur County man sentenced to 14 years in prison for attempted sex trafficking of a minor.

 

 

Category: Civil Rights

 

U.S. vs. Maynard (2:21-cr-65):

Special Agent James F. Lafferty II, FBI

Special Agent Greg Lipari, FBI

Sergeant Andrew Shingler, West Virginia State Police–BCI

 

A former Logan County Police Department officer was sentenced to nine years in prison after a federal jury convicted him of violating an arrestee’s civil rights by using excessive force against him. The outstanding work of these honorees ensured that justice was served in the case.

 

Category: White Collar Crime

U.S. vs Vladimirov (2:20-cr-54):

Special Agent Devon Selbee, U.S. Secret Service

Special Agent Terry Hedrick, U.S. Secret Service

Resident Agent in Charge Wade Fleming, U.S. Secret Service

Detective Jeremy Thompson, South Charleston Police Department

 

For the successful prosecution of the first known federal case that took down and convicted the organizer of a retail theft-based fencing organization. The leader, a native of Bulgaria living in Cross Lanes, acquired goods stolen by people addicted to heroin. Paying these “boosters” a fraction of the retail value, the ringleader resold the items online for significant profit. He was sentenced to more than eight years in prison after a federal jury found him guilty of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

 

 

U.S. vs. Pinson (2:19-cr-250):

Postal Inspector Seth Summers, U.S. Postal Inspection Service

Special Agent J.T. Waggy, FBI

Special Agent Cedric Jefferson, FBI

Special Agent Jack Remaley, FBI (retired)

First Sergeant J. M. “Mike” Parde, West Virginia State Police-BCI

Special Agent Bruce Adkins, National Insurance Crime Bureau

Intelligence Analyst Rhonda Edwards, West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner

 

A $4.3 million fraud scheme targeted Toyota Motor Sales and its buyback program for Tacoma customers. Four individuals pleaded guilty in the case. The leader of the scheme, a used car dealership owner, was sentenced to six years in prison after a federal jury convicted him of mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy, and aggravated identify theft.

 

 

U.S. vs. Dudding (3:22-cr-1):

Special Agent Devon Selbee, U.S. Secret Service

Special Agent Terry Hedrick, U.S. Secret Service

Detective Jeremy Thompson, South Charleston Police Department

Special Agent Meg Faden, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-Office of Inspector General

 

A Huntington woman acting as a money mule for a Nigeria-based online scammer pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting an unlawful money transaction and faces sentencing June 27, 2022. The investigation targeted the numerous accounts and multiple banks used to send and receive fraudulent funds, and led to the seizure of nearly the entire $1.788 million the defendant is required to pay in the case.

 

 

U.S. vs. McLaughlin (2:20-cr-182):

Detective James Hart, Parkersburg Police Department

 

For his investigation into a $1 million scam involving the purchase and sale of collector cars, which resulted in the conviction of an Ohio businessman who was sentenced to more than seven years in prison.

 

 

U.S. vs. Phillips (3:21-cr-135):

Special Agent Todd Berry, FBI

Special Agent Michael McDonald, FBI

Special Agent Jarred Shockey, FBI

Special Agent Phil Gunther, FBI

Special Agent James F. Lafferty II, FBI

Special Agent Georgia Marshall, FBI

Special Agent John Reese, FBI

Sergeant Bradford Burner, West Virginia State Police–BCI

Sergeant Richard Stephenson, West Virginia State Police

Lieutenant Jason Lanham, Summersville Police Department

Asset Forfeiture Coordinator Jaime Cochran, U.S. Marshals Service

 

A longtime employee stole approximately $4.72 million from a Huntington-based non-profit organization that provides services and support to children and families. The investigation resulted in her conviction, a $4.65 million restitution order and a sentence of seven years in prison.

 

 

Category: Outstanding Community Partner Award

 

Larry Snidow, Health Education Specialist, WV Health Right

 

Nurse Larry Snidow was among the first health care professionals called to the front lines as Charleston prepared to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Snidow worked countless hours administering COVID-19 tests and vaccinations while educating businesses and individuals about health safety protocols. Snidow routinely visited homebound individuals in their residences for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.

 

Category: Collaborative Law Enforcement Award

 

United States Marshals Service

Michael Baylous, U.S. Marshal

Anthony Santoro, Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal

Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Fred Lamey

Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Matt Ingram

Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Chris Leachman

Administrative Officer Chris Thompson

 

By encouraging, developing and maintaining partnerships, the United States Marshals Service provides invaluable assistance to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia and across the district’s law enforcement community. Thompson commended them for being the ultimate team players.

 

Category: Drug & Violent Crime Task Force of the Year

 

Beckley/Raleigh County Drug & Violent Crime Task Force

Task Force Commander: Sergeant Rob Richards, West Virginia State Police-BCI

 

This task force consists of the West Virginia State Police-Bureau of Criminal Investigations, the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department, and the Beckley Police Department. Its outstanding cooperative law enforcement efforts included the successful Operation Shutdown Corner investigation (see OCDETF category).

 

Law Enforcement Officers of the Year

 

Special Agent Jennifer King, FBI

Sergeant Curtis Adkins, West Virginia State Police-BCI

Detective Jeremy Thompson, South Charleston Police Department

 

This year’s honorees are known for their passionate commitment to every case they work; their skills and tenacity as investigators; and their selfless dedication to getting the job done.

 

 A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia.

 

 

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