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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 15, 2015

Law Enforcement Officials Announce Results of Southern W.Va. Sex Offender Registration Compliance Blitz

Operation White Water Blitz targeting sex offenders in Nicholas, Fayette and Greenbrier Counties found 45 sex offenders out of compliance

BECKLEY, W.Va. – A major law enforcement blitz aimed at verifying compliance of more than 300 registered sex offenders currently residing in three southern West Virginia counties found 45 offenders out of compliance, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, U.S. Marshal John D. Foster, and West Virginia State Police Lt. Michael Baylous announced today during a press conference in Beckley, W.Va. This week’s law enforcement sweep covered Nicholas, Fayette and Greenbrier counties.  

The initiative, known as Operation White Water Blitz, 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), the operation targeted 304 registered sex offenders.  A total of 45 individuals were determined to be out of compliance within the Southern District of West Virginia during checks conducted this week. The violations ranged in severity from individuals who had failed to register vehicles or cell phones to one individual in Nicholas County who was in possession of three firearms and growing 76 marijuana plants on his property.

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 White Water Blitz was initiated by members of the West Virginia State Police, in cooperation with the U.S. Marshals Service’s CUFFED Division.

“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.”

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.

Updated May 15, 2015