Law & Order

Human trafficking (labor and sex) is becoming more and more of a problem in West Virginia according to law enforcement officials. A forum to educate communities throughout the state is ongoing, and legislation to improve state laws was also just introduced (HB 2161).

 View of the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant fly ash spill, appx. 1 mile from the retention pond. This view is from just off Swan Pond Road. The pile of ash in the photo is 20-25 feet high, and stretches for two miles or so along this inlet (the inlet empties i
By Brian Stansberry (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (] / Wikimedia Commons

The Obama administration has set the first national standards for waste generated from coal burned for electricity. The regulation treats it more like household garbage rather than a hazardous material.


Federal prosecutors want a former executive charged in a January chemical spill on home confinement with electronic monitoring.

U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation

Senator Jay Rockefeller spoke on the floor of the United States Senate about the findings of a senate investigation into the CIA’s interrogation methods after 9/11 attacks.

Brian Turner / Wikimedia Commons

A former Consol Energy executive has pleaded guilty to stealing $440,000 in gas royalties from the company by forging deed transfers so he could funnel the money into a fake company he ran out of a post office box.

A Berkeley County man and his son face charges of plotting to burn a state lawmaker's house.

The Herald Mail of Hagerstown, Maryland, reports that 49-year-old Darryl Edmond Palmer of Inwood and 21-year-old Matthew Brian Palmer of Ranson are each charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree arson.

They are accused of conspiring to burn Delegate Stephen Skinner's home in retaliation for a lawsuit that the Jefferson County Democrat had filed against them over a consumer issue.

West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services

Six residents of a Parkersburg juvenile facility are facing charges after State Police say they assaulted correctional officers and other residents and caused thousands of dollars in property damage.

In a press release, Lt. Michael Baylous said the incident occurred at the Lorrie Yeager, Jr., Juvenile Center on Feb. 18, 2014, during a recreation period when residents were in the facility’s dayroom.

wikimedia commons

The West Virginia Division of Forestry just got a major tool to help combat forest disease and invasive species. Through an act of congress, the Monongahela National Forest has just been designated an “Insect and Disease Area.”  The designation is designed to streamline efforts to combat insect and disease threats.

One Woman's Mission Against Heroin Addiction

May 29, 2014
Stacy Cullinan

Editor's Note: This week we have been airing a series of stories concerning heroin, and the problems it’s creating in the state. Today we conclude our series by introducing you to a woman who’s fighting back against the drug’s influence in one of the hardest hit communities.

U.S. Attorney's Office / United States Department of Justice

There were few heroin deaths in West Virginia in 2001. That’s about the time  William Ihlenfeld started working as a prosecutor in the state’s legal system. He’s now the federal district attorney for the northern district.

Ihlenfeld’s seen the distribution of heroin increase during those years, and he’s fighting a war so to speak, against those who are bringing it here. He says there are established pipelines from Mexico that bring heroin to places like Baltimore or Chicago, where it eventually makes its way to  northern West Virginia.

Glynis Board / WVPublic

Over the Memorial Day weekend in north-central West Virginia, a lot of skin was on display in one restaurant. But it might not be the skin you’re thinking about.

Creative Commons Photo

Editor's Note: West Virginia Public Radio is airing a four part series on heroin addiction in West Virginia. The number of deaths attributed to heroin overdoses in West Virginia is rising steadily. This story is a conversation with some of those seeking help and treatment for their addiction to the drug.

  A former network engineer for an oil and gas firm's Charleston office has been sentenced to four years in federal prison for intentionally causing damage to the company's computer system.

U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr. also fined Ricky Joe Mitchell $100,000 and ordered him to pay $428,000 in restitution Tuesday.

Wikimedia Commons

  Two businesses in Morgantown are accused of illegally selling a drug known as synthetic marijuana. Law enforcement leaders are working with United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, to investigate but so far no charges have been filed.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and other sources, synthetic marijuana refers to herbs and plant materials that are sprayed with chemicals designed to mimic the effects of marijuana. It’s often marketed as incense and labeled “not for human consumption.” While not exclusively generated out of Asia, law officials indicate China may be a major source of production.

U.S. Department of Education

Two West Virginia colleges are on a list the U.S. Department of Education released Thursday that includes 55 schools under investigation for possibly violating federal law in how they handle sexual violence and harassment complaints.

Bethany College in the northern panhandle and the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg are both on the list.

School of Osteopathic Medicine Director of Marketing & Public Relations Denise Getson in an email response to a request for comment sent the following statement:

Wikimedia Commons

United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, was joined by other law enforcement leaders on Wednesday to announce actions taken against businesses in Morgantown that are accused of illegally selling synthetic marijuana.

The businesses known as Mid-Nite Adult and the X-Hale Hookah Lounge were searched early this week and assets from them have been seized, including their business licenses as well as all inventory of a Schedule I controlled substance which has similar effects as traditional marijuana.

The businesses are accused of selling significant amounts of the synthetic cannabinoids commonly packaged and labeled as, “Spice‚” “Herbal Incense‚” or “K2.” Officials say undercover controlled purchases were made from both businesses and then the substances acquired were submitted to the DEA's Mid-Atlantic Laboratory for analysis.

It's suspected that in just under two years the businesses collectively generated over $4 million in sales.

According to Ihlenfeld, no criminal charges have been filed, and the investigation is ongoing.

Darrell Carter
West Virginia Regional Jail Authority

  West Virginia police are investigating a murder-for-hire plot against a police lieutenant in Charleston.   Darrell Carter was charged Monday with solicitation to commit murder. He was arrested over the weekend in connection with the killing of a Charleston man. Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster says Carter offered two people $15,000 to kill chief of detectives Lt. Steve Cooper. 

Marcus Constantino (@AMTino) / Charleston Daily Mail

Kanawha County prosecutor Mark Plants is facing a misdemeanor domestic battery charge.
Plants turned himself in Monday morning after an arrest warrant was issued. He was released on a $1,000 personal recognizance bond following an arraignment in Kanawha County Magistrate Court.

A state juvenile commission has a new name, a new chairman and an expanded mission.

David Benbennick / wikimedia Commons

A former Mingo County prosecutor's sentencing in a federal corruption investigation has been pushed back a week.
Michael Sparks will be sentenced March 5 in U.S. District Court in Charleston. Sparks had been scheduled for sentencing next Monday.