AG's office expands federal partnership to fight drug dealers

By Chris Dickerson | Mar 15, 2016

CHARLESTON — A second attorney from West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office has been sworn in as a special assistant federal prosecutor, expanding the office’s fight against the state’s drug epidemic.

Chief Operating Officer and Senior Deputy Attorney General Anthony Martin received his cross designation as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney.

“Anthony will bring terrific experience to our fight against substance abuse,” Morrisey said of the Buckhannon native. “His involvement strengthens a partnership aimed at taking back our neighborhoods and communities from dealers who illegally peddle prescription painkillers, heroin and other drugs.”

Morrisey and U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld announced the unique partnership between their offices in December 2015. Among other things, it allows the state AG's Office to partner with Ihlenfeld’s staff in efforts to combat drug trafficking and enhance prevention initiatives.

Assistant Attorney General Lara Omps-Botteicher received the same federal designation in December. She netted her first conviction at trial in February as a jury found a Kearneysville man guilty of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

The partnership also builds upon the office’s existing substance abuse prevention and education initiatives.

In addition to various litigation and enforcement efforts, Morrisey sits on the National Association of Attorneys General Substance Abuse Committee.

The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division also has an advocate dedicated to educating West Virginians on substance abuse prevention. Since the program’s implementation, 93 presentations have been presented to over 3,200 West Virginians.

The office partners with local law enforcement to provide communities with drug drop boxes so people can safely and responsibly dispose of prescription medication. It is also working with entities throughout the pharmaceutical supply chain to enhance best practices.

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