U.S. attorney now on duty in Panhandle

August 08, 1997


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Until a few weeks ago the U.S. attorney's office in the Federal Building on West King Street was only occupied when a federal prosecutor came to town for a case.

Now the Department of Justice has a permanent presence in the city with the arrival of Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas O. Mucklow.

"We've been traveling across the mountains trying to serve the people of this area for 15 years," Mucklow said last week.


Prosecutors traveling from Wheeling, Clarksburg or Elkins used the Martinsburg office for cases before U.S. District Judge W. Craig Broadwater.

Mucklow said being based here will have a number of advantages, not the least of which is the elimination of hours of travel for hearings and trials. He will handle cases for Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan and Hampshire counties.

Mucklow, 49, has been an assistant U.S. attorney since 1982, most recently in Wheeling, W.Va. He and paralegal assistant Tracie L. Weaver are working out of a suite of offices on the second floor of the federal building while new fourth-floor offices are prepared.

Staffing the office here makes sense because the Eastern Panhandle is the fastest-growing area in West Virginia and it's close to interstate highways and three other states, said William D. Wilmoth, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia.

Wilmoth said the docket in the region has been active and will likely get even busier with the permanent position.

"We'll be able to handle a lot more cases that we might have had to give to state authorities," Mucklow said.

Although he is the lead attorney for the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force for the Northern District, Mucklow said his responsibilities will include other crimes such as fraud, embezzlement and bank robbery.

Mucklow, once a state prosecutor in Barbour County, will also represent the federal government in civil matters.

"We need street-level drug work and county prosecutors sometimes don't have the resources to do it," Mucklow said.

The presence of the U.S. attorneys office here will also improve cooperation between state and local law enforcement, Mucklow said.

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