W.Va. jail committee learns about bugging device

CHARLESTON (AP) — A bugging device has been found in an air duct at a Regional Jail Authority office, a state lawmaker said.

The device was found last month in the Charleston office of John Lopez, the authority’s chief of operations, The Register-Herald reported.

Delegate Dave Perry, D-Fayette, said he learned that Lopez found the device after noticing some residue from a ceiling tile in his office chair. Perry is a member of the Regional Jail’s legislative oversight committee.

“It was up overhead, and it had both audio and visual, in an air duct,” Perry said.

Perry said Lopez notified Charleston police, which turned the matter over to the FBI in Huntington. Perry said it’s his understanding that the FBI has conducted some interviews on the device.

A message left with the FBI’s Pittsburgh office wasn’t immediately returned Saturday.

During an interim meeting two weeks after the device was found, Regional Jail Authority acting executive director Joe DeLong told Perry he was unaware of any inquiry involving his agency. During his questioning, Perry didn’t mention a bugging device or Lopez in particular.

“I have not authorized any official investigations or done anything through the RJA’s normal policies or procedures of which we were conducting an investigation,” DeLong said.

Perry said the legislative committee won’t pursue the matter at this time.

Perry said both Lopez and acting Regional Jail director Joe DeLong have applied to become the agency’s full-time director. Executive director Larry Parsons resigned earlier this year, less than a year after he came out of retirement to lead the agency.

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