Feds Indict Man on Charges he Damaged Natural Gas Pipeline in Lycoming Co.

United States Attorney Peter J. Smith today announced the return of a two-count indictment by afederal grand jury in Harrisburg against Henry Virgil Benton charging him with damaging aMarcellus Shale natural gas pipeline in Cogan House Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvaniain June 2011.

The indictment alleges that after being fired from the company which constructed the pipeline,Benton, of Bradford, Arkansas, used a track hoe to excavate the pipeline and then damage, dentand open holes in it. According to the indictment the pipeline is owned by Chief Oil and Gas, LLC, aDallas, Texas company. The construction contractor was Holloman Corporation, Houston, Texas.

If convicted on all the charges against him, Benton, age 44, faces a maximum imprisonment termof 40 years, a five-year period of supervised release, a fine of up to $500,000, and a specialassessment of $200.

Mr. Smith stated that his office views allegations of intentional damage to gas pipelines as extremely serious and that in coordination with state and local law enforcement agencies, suchincidents will be investigated and prosecuted as a high priority. This case was investigated by theFederal Bureau of Investigation and the Pennsylvania State Police. Prosecution of this matter has been assigned to Assistant United States Attorney George J. Rocktashel.

An indictment or information is not evidence of guilt but simply a description of the charge madeby the grand jury and/or United States Attorney against a defendant. A charged Defendant is presumed innocent until a jury returns a unanimous finding that the United States has proven thedefendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt or until the defendant has pled guilty to the charges.

 


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