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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                          Aug. 9, 2013                   

LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE RESULTS OF SOUTHERN W.VA. SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION COMPLIANCE BLITZ

Operation Coal Dust found 10 sex offenders out of compliance

LOGAN COUNTY, W.Va. – A major two-day law enforcement blitz aimed at verifying compliance of more than 200 registered sex offenders currently residing in three southern West Virginia counties resulted in numerous arrests, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, U.S. Marshal John D. Foster, and West Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. Jay Smithers announced today during a press conference in Chapmanville, W.Va.

The initiative, known as Operation Coal Dust, is a multi-agency law enforcement effort targeting registered sex offenders to determine individual compliance with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, also known as SORNA. Led by the U.S. Marshals Service’s Cops United Felony Fugitive Enforcement Division (CUFFED), Operation Coal Dust targeted 209 registered sex offenders and found a total of 10 individuals out of compliance within the Southern District of West Virginia during compliance checks conducted by law enforcement on Tuesday and Wednesday (Aug. 6-7) of this week. 

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said, “Registering as a sex offender is not optional.  It’s not something that offenders can simply put on the back burner or casually get around to completing whenever they feel like it.  It’s mandatory.” Goodwin continued, “I’ve made prosecuting sex offenders who violate federal registration requirements one of my office’s top priorities.  Today I want to reiterate that message: If you are out of compliance, we will track you down and we will bring you to justice.”    

Operation Coal Dust was initiated by West Virginia State Police members based in Boone, Lincoln and Logan counties, along with the U.S. Marshals Service’s CUFFED Division.  The two-day law enforcement sweep targeted Boone, Lincoln and Logan counties.  Out of the 209 compliance checks performed in those specific counties, three arrests were made by police with more likely to come.     

“One registered sex offender out of compliance is one too many,” U.S. Marshal John Foster said.  “The U.S. Marshals Service is thoroughly committed to tracking down fugitives who attempt to sidestep the law.”

West Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. Jay Smithers said, “Efforts like Operation Coal Dust are extremely important.  This particular undertaking is another tool that law enforcement has used to reinforce our commitment to safe communities throughout southern West Virginia.”

In December, a similar law enforcement sweep known as Operation River Cities was initiated in Cabell, Mingo and Wayne counties.  As a result of the 299 compliance checks conducted as part of Operation River Cities, 18 arrests were made by law enforcement.

The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act is part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-248). SORNA provides a comprehensive set of minimum standards for sex offender registration and notification in the United States.

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