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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of West Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 16, 2014

Law Enforcement Officials Announce Results Of Sex-offender Sweep In Wood And Wirt Counties

Charleston, W.Va. –  U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, U.S. Marshal John D. Foster and West Virginia State Police First Lieutenant Michael Baylous announced today that during a three-day law enforcement blitz aimed at verifying compliance of more than 252 registered sex offenders currently residing in Wirt and Wood counties, 57 offenders were found to be out of compliance.

The initiative, known as Operation Black Diamond, is a multi-agency law enforcement effort targeting registered sex offenders to determine individual compliance with the Sex Offender Registration Notification Act, also known as SORNA.  Led by the U.S. Marshal’s Cops United Felony Fugitive Enforcement Division (CUFFED), Operation Black Diamond targeted 252 registered sex offenders and found 195 to be in compliance.  A total of 57 individuals were determined to be out of compliance within the Southern District of West Virginia during checks conducted on May 13-15.  The operation revealed that eight sex offenders had absconded. Deputy U.S. Marshals, along with West Virginia State Troopers, will continue their investigation until those violators are found.

 “We will continue to conduct these compliance sweeps, because the prosecution of sex offenders who violate federal registration requirements is one of my office’s top priorities,” said U.S. Attorney Goodwin. “And we will continue to bring to justice those offenders who are not in compliance.”

Operation Black Diamond was initiated by members of the West Virginia State Police, in cooperation with the U.S. Marshals Service CUFFED Division.  The three-day law enforcement sweep covered Wirt and Wood counties.

“The U.S. Marshals Service remains committed to tracking down sex offenders who attempt to evade the law,” U.S. Marshal John Foster said.

In December 2013, Operation Lump of Coal found 54 sex offenders out of compliance when a compliance check was conducted in Mercer, McDowell, Monroe, Summers and Wyoming counties.  In August 2013, a similar law enforcement sweep, dubbed Operation Coal Dust, was conducted of 209 registered offenders residing in Boone, Lincoln and Logan counties, which found 10 individuals out of compliance.  Operation River Cities, in December 2012, netted 18 arrests of sex offenders found to be out of compliance in Cabell, Mingo and Wayne counties after nearly 300 checks were conducted.

As a result of the four regional operations, a combined total of more than 1,250 offender compliance checks have been conducted.

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

Updated January 7, 2015