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Despite US charges, West Virginia mayor plans to stay put

BRIDGEPORT (AP) — The mayor of Bridgeport says he has no plans to resign from public office despite his indictment on federal drug charges.

Federal agents arrested Mayor Mario Blount on Tuesday on charges of illegally dispensing prescription painkillers.

A pharmacist, Blount was charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute schedule II controlled substances, distribution of oxycodone and failure to report the filling of a prescription.

Blount told The Exponent Telegraph he couldn’t further discuss his decision to remain mayor. He said his attorney advised him to refrain from discussing his arrest or plans to remain in office.

The City Council is scheduled to meet on Monday.

Blount is accused of illegally dispensing more than 11,000 oxycodone and oxymorphone pills over a three-year period, said Karl C. Colder, an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

A City Council member is subject to removal when convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, according to the city charter.

But the West Virginia Code also states municipal officers can be removed from office if the prosecuting attorney brings charges to remove them.

Harrison County Prosecuting Attorney Joe Shaffer said he hasn’t received such a request.

City Recorder Bob Greer said he didn’t see any reason why the mayor shouldn’t continue in his official duties.

“A man is innocent until proven guilty,” he said. “As a lawyer, I can’t view it any other way.”

Two co-defendants were indicted on charges of conspiring with Blount to possess and distribute oxycodone and other prescription painkillers.

If convicted of all charges, Blount faces up to 24 years in prison. Co-defendants Angela Davis and April Davis each face up to 20 years in prison.

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