The Greater Harrison County Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force received more than $700,000 Thursday as a down payment for its share of assets recovered in the bust of a large synthetic drug supplier in Clarksburg.
Leaders from the Drug Enforcement Agency, Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Attorney's Office presented the check to the Clarksburg Police Department, Bridgeport Police Department and West Virginia State Police. The money is the first installment of funds that will be disbursed as part of the Hot Stuff, Cool Things investigation that began in 2011. Many of the assets in the case were formerly the property of Jeffrey Paglia, the proprietor of the stores in Clarksburg and Buckhannon.
The investigation led to the arrests and convictions of Jeffrey Paglia, Derrick Calip, and Jeremia J. Phillips. Calip and Philips were each sentenced to 21 months in federal prison. Paglia was sentenced to more than seven years. The trial of a fourth man, John Skruck, was set to begin in May, although Skruck fled the area and is currently wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service.
The funds will be used by the Drug Task Force to further combat drug trafficking, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office. The amount of the next check depends on multiple factors, including amounts received for real estate that has been seized but not yet sold.