BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — State Troopers committed 200 man-hours to ensuring the safety of the community. Interviews with neighbors, and some social media searching led to the verification of 93 sex offenders living in Raleigh County.
Cpl. Robert Marsh with the West Virginia State Police is in charge of the sex offender registry for Raleigh County.
“We found 23 to be in violation. We have five that are potential federal cases and that would apply if these offenders are in another state, or crossed state lines without notifying us. Five arrests have been made and we have initiated seven criminal investigations,” Marsh explained.
This was all part of Operation Turkey Sweep. Troopers, with the help of U.S Marshalls, attempted to verify 100 sex offenders on the state registry. When someone is charged with a sex crime, they are required to register with the state police, and provide them with a list of information.
“Anything that they have on that verification form they have to be able to prove. Whether it be employment, P.O. Box, vehicles, email accounts, IP addresses, screen names. All that stuff they have to be able to prove to us,” Marsh said.
State police have to verify all of that information for each sex offender at least once a year. And for this operation, they used the element of surprise.
“We don’t want the sex offenders to get comfortable with, ‘okay the trooper was here today so I am good for 365 days,'” Marsh explained.
U.S. Marshal Michael Baylous said although this sweep was a success, everyone should still be cautious in their community.
“Keep an eye on them and, as always, be cautious,” Baylous said.
If you want to see if there are any sex offenders in your community, be sure to visit the WV State Police sex offender website.