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Press Release

Criminal Prosecutions Significantly Increase Under Leadership of United States Attorney Will Thompson during Fiscal Year 2022

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


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – United States Attorney Will Thompson had a momentous first year as the chief federal law enforcement officer for the Southern District of West Virginia.

A series of successful major cases highlighted a federal fiscal year that saw total criminal case filings increase by more than 38 percent in FY 2022 when compared to the prior fiscal year. The district’s ranking for criminal cases filed among all U.S. Attorney’s Offices in FY 2022 was its highest in at least the last five years.

White-collar crime filings more than doubled, while cases targeting violent crimes rose by more than one-third. Drug crime filings accounted for approximately 45 percent of all criminal cases, and included prosecutions under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) initiative.

“The criminal filings in 2022 are the result of the tremendous hard work and commitment to service by our team of eminently capable attorneys, support staff, and our law enforcement partners,” Thompson said.

Thompson was sworn in on October 13, 2021, less than two weeks into the 2022 federal fiscal year. During FY 2022, there were 270 criminal cases filed. Of these, 24 were OCDETF cases and 97 were other drug-related prosecutions. Violent crimes accounted for 98 case filings, up from 68 during the prior year. White collar crimes were 18 of the total, compared to 8 in FY 2021.

This pie chart illustrates criminal case filings in FY 2022 by program category

Thompson leads 34 attorneys and 41 non-attorney personnel located in offices in Charleston, Huntington, and Beckley. The office is responsible for prosecuting federal crimes in the district including crimes related to civil rights, public corruption, child exploitation, firearms, narcotics and terrorism.

The Southern District of West Virginia will be issuing an annual report for FY 2022 that will provide detailed statistics as well as summaries of major cases from the past year. Notable cases include:

Civil Rights: United States v Everett Maynard (2:21-cr-65)

On Nov. 17, 2021, a federal jury convicted Everett Maynard, 45, of Logan, of using excessive force against an arrestee while Maynard was a police officer with the Logan Police Department. Maynard was sentenced to nine years in prison and three years of supervised release on March 17, 2022.

Violent Crime: United States v Nathaniel Blayn Becker (2:21-cr-234)

On April 19, 2022, a federal jury found Nathaniel Blayn Becker, 43, of Marietta, Ohio, guilty of two counts of possession of an unregistered destructive device and two counts of placement of a destructive device on a vessel, in connection with pipe bombs found on tugboats on the Ohio River. Becker was sentenced on December 1, 2022, to eight years and one month in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.

Project Safe Childhood: United States v Todd Christopher Roatsey (2:21-cr-235)

Todd Christopher Roatsey, 43, of Elkview, a former counselor at Kanawha County’s Pinch Elementary School, pleaded guilty on June 13, 2022, to attempted production of child pornography and attempted enticement of a minor. Roatsey was sentenced on December 19, 2022, to 25 years in prison, to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release. Roatsey was also ordered to pay $23,000 in restitution to his victims and register as a sex offender.

Elder Justice Initiative: Romance Fraud Schemes (3:21-cr-68; 3:21-cr-69; 3:21-cr-70; 3:21-cr-71)

Nine defendants were convicted in connection with multiple internet-based fraud schemes that operated in the Huntington area and defrauded hundreds of individuals across the country.

The fraud schemes targeted potential victims looking for romantic partners, friendship, and other close personal and business relationships on dating websites and other social media platforms. Induced into believing they were in a romantic relationship, friendship or business relationship with false personas, the victims were persuaded to send money for a variety of false and fraudulent reasons for the benefit of the false personas. The defrauded funds were laundered for distribution among the defendants and others, with some of the funds transferred overseas.

Project Safe Neighborhoods: United States v Jones et al (5:22-cr-46)

Eighteen defendants pleaded guilty and one was convicted by a federal jury in connection with a multi-state conspiracy that trafficked more than 140 firearms from the Beckley area to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, between early 2020 and mid-2021. Approximately 45 of these firearms have been recovered at crime scenes primarily in Philadelphia and have been connected to two homicides, crimes of domestic violence, and other violent offenses.

OCDETF: United States v Midkiff et al (3:21-cr-109)

After a long-term investigation, law enforcement officers dismantled a conspiracy that distributed a variety of drugs including fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, cocaine base (also known as “crack”), oxycodone, and heroin in the Huntington area between the summer of 2020 and July 2021. All 19 individuals charged in this prosecution were convicted and sentenced to prison for their roles in the conspiracy. Four of the defendants were each sentenced to at least 10 years in prison.

OCDETF: United States v Alston et al (2:21-cr-172)

The long-term investigation in this case successfully targeted a drug trafficking organization (DTO) that operated primarily in the Charleston, Rand, and St. Albans areas of Kanawha County. The investigation also thwarted a plan to murder an individual on Charleston’s West Side on July 4, 2021.

Three defendants were found guilty at trial and the other 14 defendants pleaded guilty. To date, 14 defendants have been sentenced to prison. Eight of those defendants were each sentenced to at least 10 years in prison.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia.




Updated January 5, 2023

Elder Justice
Project Safe Childhood
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Office and Personnel Updates
Violent Crime
Civil Rights
Community Outreach
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses