Capt. Jack Hardin, commander of the Fairfax County Police Department’s Organized Crime and Narcotics division (OCN), and Ed O’Carroll, director of the FCPD’s Public Affairs Bureau described the sting operation at a media briefing Aug. 5.
OCN began an investigation during the week of July 18 after learning from a citizen that Silverthorne might be involved in distributing methamphetamine, which is listed as a Schedule II controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, through a website used to arrange casual sexual encounters. An undercover detective created a profile on the website and within two days, the suspect made contact through the site.
At the meeting Silverthorne provided meth to the undercover detectives and was subsequently arrested and charged with felony distribution of methamphetamine and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
Detectives also arrested Silverthorne’s alleged suppliers, Juan Jose Fernandez, 34, and Caustin Lee McLaughlin, 21, both of Maryland. Fernandez was charged with of felony distribution of methamphetamine, felony possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
McLaughlin was charged with felony distribution of methamphetamine, felony obstruction of justice, and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. McLaughlin resisted arrest, and an officer deployed an “electronic control weapon,” commonly known as a taser. There were no injuries. All three were transported to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center for processing.
FCPD officials don’t know how long the mayor had been involved with these activities, but he had at least one other relationship on the website beside the one with the undercover detective. FCPD declined to identify the website, but Hardin said it’s like a dating website where the culture is about exchanging drugs for sex, although that isn’t explicitly stated.
The undercover detective knew what the mayor was looking for and created a profile on the site that addressed those needs, Hardin said. The mayor then initiated contact and arranged a meeting.
At the meeting, the mayor was supposed to bring two grams of meth, and the detective was supposed to provide a hotel room. Both parties were expected to bring additional people. When Silverthorne’s suppliers showed up in the parking lot, 20 minutes late, FCPD detectives observed the meeting, then arrested the suspects. One other person brought by the supplier was not arrested and was released.
The FCPD do not believe Silverthorne kept large quantities of meth in his house; he would meet with his supplier before each meeting, Hardin said.
Silverthorne was re-elected for a third term in May after suffering a series of personal setbacks, the Washington Post reported. He lost job with the National Association of Manufacturers, filed for federal bankruptcy protection, lost his home to foreclosure and was treated for cancer following the discovery of a squamous cell carcinoma on his neck.