Washington, D.C. – A dark story is unfolding in the shadow of the rolling hills of rural West Virginia. A story of drug deals, sex abuse, extortion, blackmail and murder. In which politicians behave like Afghan warlords, judges attempt to imprison husbands so they can steal their wives, the law is used to settle scores, and you might go to prison for trying to collect a few thousand dollars a government official owes you.
Mingo is a waning county where political figures are the privileged class. This is Hatfield and McCoy country, literally: What is now Mingo County was the homeland of the Hatfield family. In Mingo, political power and wealth are concentrated in the hands of a few families. With its coal mining decimated, the official unemployment rate is well over 8 percent. While the state of West Virginia leans Democratic by a margin of 2 to 1, the county of Mingo splits for the Democrats at a rate of 9 to 1.