Randy Yohe Published

 W.Va. Police Sweep Targeting Non-Compliant Sex Offenders Nets Dozens Of Arrests

Big Building with West Virginia State Police logo displayed.
West Virginia State Police Headquarters in South Charleston.
Randy Yohe/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Led by the West Virginia State Police and the U.S. Marshals Southern District of West Virginia CUFFED task force, the recently concluded ‘Operation Blue and Gold Shield’ targeted non-compliant sex offenders in Kanawha, Wood and Wirt Counties and surrounding areas. 

Multiple sex offenders taken into custody were found to be non-compliant with the sex offender registry. In total, 39 felony arrests were made in the operation, to include nine for violations of the sex offender registry, and five for sex related crimes.  

Others with various warrants were also taken into custody for crimes of first-degree murder, attempted murder, second- and third-degree sexual assault, possession of child pornography, soliciting a minor via computer, escape, delivery of controlled substances, and supervised release violations. 

A West Virginia State Police fact sheet shows there are 5,438 registered sex offenders in West Virginia. Deputy U.S. Marshal Mark Waggamon says those who don’t report properly can be more likely to be repeat offenders.   

“A lot of these guys, they’ll say, ‘Hey, I got one Facebook, they will have four Facebooks,” Waggamon said. “They’re not supposed to have internet access, and they have internet access.”

Waggamon said there are stipulations to the sex offenders being on the sex offender registry, explaining they’re required to report certain things. 

“Some of those things are addresses, phone numbers, social media accounts, vehicles,” he said. “When they’re non-compliant, they’re not reporting these particular things.”

One sex offender, Gabriel Allen Hargus, 46, of Mineral Wells, was also indicted in federal court for failure to register as a sex offender.

Hargus is wanted by the U.S. Marshals, the West Virginia State Police, and the West Virginia Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation. 

If anyone knows the whereabouts of Hargus or any non-compliant sex offender, you can submit a tip anonymously using USMS Tips or call 1-877-WANTED-2. Tips are kept confidential.  

In a related case, Parkersburg YMCA CEO Jeff Olson has resigned after state police charged him with sex crimes involving a juvenile girl.  

A State Police press release notes that in 2017 and 2018, Olson, previous Head Coach of the tennis team at Parkersburg High School, allegedly engaged in sexually explicit conversations and distributed sexually explicit images with a juvenile female athlete in Wood County. 

Olson was arrested on (1) count of the Solicitation of a Minor via Computer and (3) counts of Distribution of Obscene Matter to a Minor.

He was arraigned before a Wood County Magistrate and a surety bond was set at $40,000. Olson posted bond and now awaits a preliminary hearing.