The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

May 1, 2013

Bath salts case headed to trial May 14

MORGANTOWN — A Clarksburg man who prosecutors said ran two West Virginia shops that sold large quantities of illegal bath salts will stand trial May 14, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

John Skruck, 56, had sought to delay his trial on more than two dozen drug-related charges. Defense attorney Thorn Thorn said he’s received more than 10,000 pages of discovery — 1,000 since mid-March — and needed three more months to prepare.

Thorn also complained he only got a list of the government’s intended witnesses about 10 days ago.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Rob McWilliams countered that the defense has had access to many documents for months, including interviews with a potential witness that have been available for about a year.

U.S. District Judge Irene Keeley agreed after a hearing in Clarksburg.

McWilliams also said two witnesses are federal Drug Enforcement Administration chemists whose names have been on their lab reports for months. The defense has long known it would need its own expert witnesses to counter their testimony, he said, so there is no justification for a delay.

A pretrial memo, meanwhile, suggested it was Skruck — not owner Jeffrey Paglia — who ran the Hot Stuff Cool Things stores in Buckhannon and Clarksburg before federal authorities raided and closed them last April.

Authorities called the stores a major distributor of hallucinogenic bath salts in north-central West Virginia and noted that Paglia planned to open a third store in Fairmont.

Paglia will be sentenced in July on one count of drug conspiracy and one count of structuring monetary transactions to evade reporting requirements. Two of his other employees are to be sentenced June 10. But Skruck, who functioned as general manager, is facing the most charges under a 27-count superseding indictment filed in February.

McWilliams’s memo to the court said Skruck not only set up a system for Paglia to skim from the stores’ profits but then skimmed a second time for his own gain.

Prosecutors said Skruck and Paglia met in a Buckhannon bar that Skruck ran, but by August 2011, Skruck had returned to his home state of Texas to run several strip clubs. Paglia convinced Skruck to return and help him.

That same summer, authorities began doing surveillance and “trash pulls” at the stores, recovering cash register tapes and receipts that detailed what was being sold, including the type, weight and price of products.

They revealed the stores made about 5 percent of their money on “hippie” clothing sales and 95 percent from illegal drugs — sometimes more than $20,000 a day, McWilliams wrote. As time went on, however, Paglia distanced himself and focused on investing in real estate and equipment.

In November 2011, Skruck moved into a church that Paglia had purchased and had drugs delivered there for both his local and Texas operations — without Paglia’s knowledge, McWilliams said.

 

1
Text Only
West Virginia
  • Repairs set for I-77 tunnel

    Some lanes of an Interstate 77 tunnel along the Virginia-West Virginia border where a truck fire occurred are being rerouted for repairs.

    July 29, 2014

  • Veterans crisis center coming to Clarksburg

    The long delays for veterans seeking medical care at VA hospitals have prompted The American Legion to plan a short-term crisis center in Clarksburg.

    July 29, 2014

  • Weekend tornado confirmed in West Virginia

    The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado touched down in Pleasants and Ritchie counties over the weekend.

    July 29, 2014

  • Rahal: Fund VA reform ‘for our veterans’

     On the cusp of Congress’s lengthy summer break, factions sparring over legislation to strengthen health care and funding reforms for the Department of Veterans Affairs may have reached a compromise.
    Although final details are still in the works, the top two negotiators, Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., released a joint statement that said they had “made significant progress toward and agreement on legislation to make VA more accountable and to help the department recruit more doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals.”

    July 29, 2014

  • Attorney general reaches $950,000 settlement with three financial groups

    West Virginia’s attorney general has reached a $950,000 settlement with three companies over allegations of antitrust law violations.

    July 28, 2014

  • Woman convicted in teen’s slaying moved

    A Monongalia County teenager has been transferred to a state prison to complete her sentence for the slaying of another teenager.
    The Lakin Correctional Center near Point Pleasant said Friday Rachel Shoaf has been booked at the Division of Corrections prison. Shoaf turned 18 last month and had been held in a juvenile facility.

    July 26, 2014

  • Board suspends clinic operator’s license

    A West Virginia board Friday suspended the license of the operator of a pain management clinic where investigators found syringes were being reused. It was the second disciplinary action involving the doctor’s license within a decade.

    July 26, 2014

  • Candidates: Leave global warming debate to scientists

    Two West Virginia congressional hopefuls said during their first candidate forum matchup Thursday that the global warming debate is better left to scientists.
    Democrat Nick Casey and Republican Alex Mooney added that other countries should step up in reducing carbon emissions.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lawsuit filed over Dirty Girl Mud Run

    A lawsuit has been filed against the producers of a run that was canceled in Charleston in which participants were told they wouldn’t be issued refunds.

    July 24, 2014

  • WVa. man sues GM over wife's death

    A West Virginia man has filed a lawsuit against General Motors Corp., claiming a defective ignition switch in a Chevrolet Cobalt caused a 2006 accident that killed his pregnant wife.

    July 24, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads