FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Dec. 13, 2013
LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE RESULTS OF SOUTHERN W.VA. SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION COMPLIANCE BLITZ
Operation Lump of Coal found 54 sex offenders out of compliance
BECKLEY, W.Va. – A major four-day law enforcement blitz aimed at verifying compliance of more than 317 registered sex offenders currently residing in five southern West Virginia counties found 54 offenders out of compliance, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, U.S. Marshal John D. Foster, and West Virginia State Police Capt. Brad Mankins announced today during a press conference in Beckley, W.Va.
The initiative, known as Operation Lump of Coal, 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 Lump of Coal targeted 317 registered sex offenders and found 263 to be in compliance. A total of 54 individuals were determined to be out of compliance within the Southern District of West Virginia during checks conducted on Dec. 9-12 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 Lump of Coal was initiated by members of the West Virginia State Police, in cooperation with the U.S. Marshals Service’s CUFFED Division. The four-day law enforcement sweep covered Mercer, McDowell, Monroe, Summers and Wyoming counties.
“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 evade the law.”
In August, a similar law enforcement sweep known as Operation Coal Dust was initiated in Boone, Lincoln and Logan counties. Operation Coal Dust conducted compliance checks on 209 registered sex offenders and found a total of 10 individuals out of compliance.
Also, in December 2012, a compliance sweep dubbed Operation River Cities, aimed at Cabell, Mingo and Wayne counties, netted 18 arrests after nearly 300 checks were conducted.
As a result of the three regional operations, a combined total of more than 1000 offender compliance checks have been made.
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.