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Press Release

First Installment Of Paglia

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of West Virginia

1125 Chapline Street, Federal Building, Suite 3000 ● Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-7725 ● Contact: Chris Zumpetta-Parr, Public Affairs Specialist

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Investigation pays big dividends for local departments

CLARKSBURG, WV - Federal authorities presented the Greater Harrison County Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force with a check for over $700,000 today as a down payment on its share of the assets recovered in a large synthetic drug investigation.

Leaders from the DEA, ATF, IRS, U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Attorney's Office presented a check in the amount of $706,472.13 to the Clarksburg Police Department, the Bridgeport Police Department, and the West Virginia State Police. The money disbursed was the first installment of equitable sharing that will occur as a result of the "Hot Stuff, Cool Things" investigation that began in 2011 and led to arrests, indictments, and convictions in 2012.

According to Task Force board members, the funds received this week will be used by the unit to further its efforts to combat drug trafficking in the area. Additional funds will be disbursed in 2014 once the remaining assets are liquidated. The amount of the next disbursement to the Task Force will depend upon a number of factors, including the amounts received for real estate that has been seized but not yet sold.

According to United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld, II, many of the assets in the case were formerly the property of Jeffrey J. Paglia, the proprietor of stores in Clarksburg & Buckhannon that sold bath salts - a synthetic controlled substance - in violation of federal law. Paglia was indicted in April of 2012 and then convicted in November of 2012 for his role in the distribution of Schedule I Controlled Substances, and Schedule I Analogue Controlled Substances. He was also convicted for the structuring monetary transactions in order to evade reporting requirements. Paglia was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for his crimes.

Co-defendants Jeremia J. Phillips and Derek L. Calip were also convicted in 2012 for their involvement in the distribution of bath salts. They were each sentenced to 21 months in federal prison. John N. Skruck, the fourth defendant named in the indictment, has been on the run since May of 2013 and is still wanted by authorities.

Assets seized in April and May of 2012 included eleven parcels of West Virginia real estate in Clarksburg, Buckhannon, and Lost Creek, and one parcel of real estate in Gardner, Massachusetts. Vehicles seized included a 2011 Ford F-150, a 2011 Honda Crosstour, a 2007 Yamaha Motorcycle, and a 2005 Indian SPCN Motorcycle. Agents also seized a 2008 Bobcat front end loader, a 1998 GMC dump truck, and a Kubota U35 excavator. Multiple bank accounts were also seized.

The Greater Harrison County Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force is comprised of officers and agents from the Clarksburg Police Department, the Bridgeport Police Department, the West Virginia State Police, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Investigative support for the task force is provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Updated January 7, 2015