Virginia mayor will resign after meth-for-sex bust

Posted at 6:23 AM, Aug 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-09 06:50:56-04

By day, Richard “Scott” Silverthorne is mayor of Fairfax, Virginia, a wealthy Washington suburb of 22,000 people. He’s also a substitute teacher in the county public schools.

But, as police revealed Thursday, Silverthorne, 50, allegedly had a side gig: meth dealer.

Silverthorne was arrested and charged with felony distribution of methamphetamine and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, Fairfax County police said. He was delivered to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center and was later released on his own recognizance, police spokeswoman Meg Hawkins said.

Silverthorne will resign from his post on Thursday, the city announced on Monday.

Silverthorne’s legal troubles began with a tip about methamphetamine distributor to Fairfax County police in late July. Investigators identified a person who was allegedly distributing methamphetamine via a website used to arrange casual sexual encounters between men, police said in a statement.

An undercover detective created a profile on the site, police said. Soon, he was communicating via text message with a suspect, who offered “methamphetamine for sexual encounters,” according to the statement.

Police set up a group sex encounter with Silverthorne, who allegedly agreed to bring drugs, along with other men. On Thursday, the parties rendezvoused at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Tysons Corner, where the mayor was arrested.

Two years of misfortune

For Silverthorne, whose father was mayor in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the arrest was just the latest episode in two years of misfortune.

Last year, he was laid off from his recruitment job with the National Association of Manufacturers, the Washington Post reported.

Silverthorne ended up filing for bankruptcy after owing about $58,000 to creditors and a bank foreclosed on his house, the Post reported. He moved in with a friend.

To make matters worse, an oncologist diagnosed Silverthorne with squamous cell carcinoma of the neck.

After the mayor’s arrest Thursday, investigators said they closed in on his alleged suppliers. They arrested two men identified as Juan Jose Fernandez, 34, and Caustin Lee McLaughlin, 21, both of Maryland.

Fernandez was charged with felony distribution of methamphetamine, felony possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

McLaughlin, who allegedly resisted arrest and had to be subdued with a Taser, was charged with felony distribution of methamphetamine, felony obstruction of justice, and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, according to police.

“It’s been a terrible year for me,” the mayor told the Post in late December.