U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II

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Federal prosecutors say four people conspired to steer $1.5 million of West Virginia highways project to a South Carolina business for bribes and kickbacks between 2008 and 2014.

According to prosecutors, 60-yaer-old Bruce Kenney III of Norfolk, Virginia, used his former state position to funnel structural inspection work to the Dennis Corp. of Columbia while covertly receiving nearly $200,000.

Aaron Payne / Ohio Valley ReSource

It’s not just about notebooks and pencil boxes anymore: the opioid epidemic means back-to-school supplies now include things like emergency overdose treatments and drug prevention plans.

Pills, Drugs, Prescriptions, prescription drugs
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A Pennsylvania man has pleaded guilty to participating in a ring that sold heroin and prescription drugs in West Virginia.

Kalif Briggs faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The 33-year-old resident of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Clarksburg to aiding and abetting the distribution of oxycodone.

U.S. Attorney's Office

The U.S. attorney's office for the Northern District of West Virginia says it has brought in nearly $3.5 million through civil and criminal actions in fiscal year 2015.

U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II says his office collected $1.5 million from criminal actions and $1.3 million from civil actions. It also brought in about $625,000 from civil and criminal asset forfeitures.

U.S. Attorney's Office

State and federal authorities have created a multi-jurisdictional working group to identify and deal with health care fraud in northern West Virginia.

U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II and representatives of the FBI, the IRS and the state Medicaid Fraud Control Unit announced the group's formation on Thursday. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Montoro is the group's leader.

U.S. Attorney's Office

A federal prosecutor is urging West Virginia to rescind its approval of a proposed children's psychiatric hospital in Logan.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld objected to the 70-bed facility in an Oct. 13 letter to Karen Bowling, the state health and human resources secretary.

U.S. Attorney's Office

Federal law enforcement officials have unveiled a drug prevention initiative in Ohio County.

U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld II said Tuesday that drug testing kits will be made available for free to Ohio County residents.

Pills, Drugs, Prescriptions, prescription drugs
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Prevention and increased access to treatment are components of a new plan targeting drug abuse in north-central West Virginia.

U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II said Thursday that the plan was developed by a working group of community leaders in the region. It's similar to an existing plan in the Northern Panhandle.

Dollar Photo Club

U.S. District Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, just announced the launch of an organized effort to combat addiction problems in Marion, Monongalia and Harrison counties: an Addiction Action Plan. It’s an extension of an initiative that began in the Northern Panhandle late last year in response to a resurgence of heroin use in the region.

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Wheeling Jesuit University has agreed to pay $2.3 million to the federal government to settle claims that it misused grant funding.

U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II announced the settlement Monday. He said the agreement ends an investigation into allegations that the university misused funds from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Science Foundation from 2003 to 2010. A NASA audit led to the allegations.

Four Charged in Contract Scheme

Jun 22, 2015
U.S. Attorney's Office / United States Department of Justice

  Four people have been charged with fraudulently using federal small-business programs to obtain contracts worth millions from the government.

U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld II said Monday that the defendants obtained contracts worth more than $140 million under a program that helps disadvantaged business operators compete for government contracts. Another $24 million was obtained under a program that helps disabled veterans.

Human trafficking (labor and sex) is becoming more and more of a problem in West Virginia according to law enforcement officials. A forum to educate communities throughout the state is ongoing, and legislation to improve state laws was also just introduced (HB 2161).

Pills, Drugs, Prescriptions, prescription drugs
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A north-central West Virginia doctor has been convicted of illegally distributing prescription pain pills.

Pills, Drugs, Prescriptions, prescription drugs
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A crackdown by the Ohio Valley Drug Task Force has reduced illegal prescription painkiller operations in Northern West Virginia.

Now authorities are dealing with a new drug problem - heroin.

U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld II tells The Intelligencer and Wheeling News Register that heroin supply and demand is increasing for several reasons.

Pills, Drugs, Prescriptions, prescription drugs
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  A federal prosecutor says a 25-year-old son of West Virginia Senate President Jeff Kessler has been indicted in a drug trafficking case.

U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld said Wednesday that a grand jury in Wheeling indicted Jacob Kessler of Glen Dale on nine counts related to oxycodone distribution.

Ihlenfeld says some of the alleged trafficking occurred in Bellaire, Ohio, and near West Virginia Northern Community College in Wheeling.

In a statement, Jeff Kessler says he's "heartbroken and disappointed" over his son's arrest and asks for privacy during a difficult time for his family.

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An Ohio man will spend more than five years in prison for extorting more than $1 million.

U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II announced the sentencing of 31-year-old Jason Kirkland Weese of East Liverpool, Ohio, on Monday.

Weese had pleaded guilty in June to extortion conspiracy and aiding and abetting money laundering. He was accused of extorting the money from former Bethany College cashier Shelly Lough.

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  Federal prosecutors have seized more than a half-million dollars tied to a synthetic marijuana investigation.

About $581,000 was found in nine separate bank accounts. The money was taken in civil asset forfeiture proceedings. It's connected to a Morgantown business, Mid-Nite Adult, which sold mainly adult novelty items.

Pills, Drugs, Prescriptions, prescription drugs
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  The accused leader of a northern West Virginia drug ring has pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge.

U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II says 38-year-old Brian Schultz headed a network that distributed prescription painkillers and cocaine in northern West Virginia and Belmont County, Ohio.

Schultz pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Wheeling to one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. The Triadelphia resident faces up to 20 years in prison.

U.S. Attorney's Office / United States Department of Justice

  A federal prosecutor is holding a roundtable discussion on domestic violence and sexual assault.

U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld will conduct the meeting at the YWCA of Wheeling on Thursday afternoon.

Others expected to be in attendance include county sheriffs and prosecutors and members of violence prevention programs.

Dr. Tressie Montene Duffy

A Martinsburg doctor has been indicted on federal charges that she illegally prescribed prescription painkillers.

U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld said Wednesday that 44-year-old Dr. Tressie Montene Duffy faces 100 felony counts of aiding and abetting the distribution of four controlled substances.

Duffy is CEO and owner West Virginia Weight and Wellness Inc. Office assistant Amanda Clark and AIT Laboratories employee Tracie Colbert were indicted on similar charges.

  A former state Division of Highways supervisor faces up to five years in prison after pleading guilty to lying to a federal agent.

U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II says 38-year-old Edward Matthew Tuttle of Buckhannon entered his plea Wednesday morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge James E. Seibert in Wheeling.


Federal health officials are opposing the planned sale of Fairmont General Hospital to Alecto Healthcare Services.

U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld filed the objection Monday on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wheeling.

The filing says the sale would violate federal law by preventing full repayment of money owed on Medicare contracts. Instead, the sale proposes to set limits of up to $1.5 million for repayment on three contracts.

Pills, Drugs, Prescriptions, prescription drugs
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  A Bridgeport man has been charged with falsifying documents to inflate his Veterans Administration disability benefits and with fraudulently obtaining drugs from the VA.

U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld announced the 10-count indictment against 65-year-old Thomas Cueto on Tuesday. If convicted, Cueto faces up to 10 years in prison on one count and four years each on the remaining nine charges. Federal prosecutors are also seeking to recover $480,000 in VA benefits they claim Cueto has collected since 1999.

U.S. Attorney's Office / United States Department of Justice

There were few heroin deaths in West Virginia in 2001. That’s about the time  William Ihlenfeld started working as a prosecutor in the state’s legal system. He’s now the federal district attorney for the northern district.

Ihlenfeld’s seen the distribution of heroin increase during those years, and he’s fighting a war so to speak, against those who are bringing it here. He says there are established pipelines from Mexico that bring heroin to places like Baltimore or Chicago, where it eventually makes its way to  northern West Virginia.

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  Editor's Note: We are airing a four part series on West Virginia Public Radio, about the drug heroin and how it is affecting West Virginia. A recent Associated Press story reported the number of heroin deaths in the state have nearly doubled since 2010. In the first story, Ben Adducchio reports on why heroin is getting into the hands of so many people.

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  Two businesses in Morgantown are accused of illegally selling a drug known as synthetic marijuana. Law enforcement leaders are working with United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, to investigate but so far no charges have been filed.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and other sources, synthetic marijuana refers to herbs and plant materials that are sprayed with chemicals designed to mimic the effects of marijuana. It’s often marketed as incense and labeled “not for human consumption.” While not exclusively generated out of Asia, law officials indicate China may be a major source of production.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

After two Morgantown businesses were busted for selling illegal synthetic marijuana, we examine what the product is and it's potential effects and dangers. The Huntington Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Foundation raises an invaluable donation for the Speech and Hearing Center at Marshall University. Also, Lake Street Dive performs "Clear a Space" on this Mountain Stage song of the week.


A Virginia man who is a former director of a Homeland Security division has been indicted on charges he used his government-issued credit card to obtain more than $100,000 in cash advances at the Hollywood Casino in Charles Town.
U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld announced Monday that 55-year-old Gene Protogiannis of Lovettsville, Va., has been indicted on 45 counts of wire fraud. He says Protogiannis used the government credit card to obtain $115,000 in cash advances in 2013.

U.S. Attorney's Office

More than a dozen people have been charged with participating in a cocaine trafficking ring in West Virginia.
Seven people from West Virginia, three from Florida and three from Maryland are charged in a 73-count indictment issued March 18 by a federal grand jury in Martinsburg.

West Virginia Regional Jail & Correctional Facility Authority

A West Virginia inmate faces federal charges of threatening President Barack Obama and his family.
Robert Dale Tasker is charged in an indictment with three counts of threatening Obama and one count of threatening the president's family. The alleged threats were mailed in December and February.