By KATE COIL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
A Mercer County man has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison under the Bluefield Pill Initiative after admitting to shooting a police informant.
Shawn Thomas Anderson, 36, of Bluefield was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison by Senior U.S. District Judge David A. Faber Monday, according to a statement released by U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin’s office. Anderson previously pleaded guilty to carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence in October 2012.
According to Goodwin, Anderson admitted on Dec. 6, 2011 he met with an individual cooperating with police as part of the Bluefield Pill Initiative near the city. Goodwin said Anderson further admitted to confronting the informant about cooperating with law enforcement and displayed a gun in an attempt to scare the informant.
Anderson then admitted to authorities he fired several rounds from the gun, one of which struck the confidential informant in the hand. Anderson is currently in custody at the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John File and investigated by the Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force.
Goodwin said the investigation was conducted both as part of the Bluefield Pill Initiative and Project Safe Neighborhoods, a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in the United States by networking existing local programs targeting gun crime.
The Bluefield Pill Initiative is a collaborative, multi-agency regional law enforcement effort, designed to stop drug trafficking in Mercer, McDowell and Wyoming Counties. The initiative is led by the Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, which include the West Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation; the Mercer, McDowell and Wyoming County Sheriff’s Departments; and the Bluefield and Princeton Police Departments.
Melvin Smith with the U.S. Department of Justice said nearly 30 individuals have been sentenced as a result of the Bluefield Pill Initiative and several others have entered guilty pleas or been indicted since the initiative was launched in the summer of 2011.