Mike Pence Cancelled New Hampshire Trip to Avoid Shaking Hands with Accused Drug Dealer

Mike Pence Cancelled New Hampshire Trip to Avoid Shaking Hands with Accused Drug Dealer

Vice President Mike Pence was all set to travel to New Hampshire to give a speech on the opioid epidemic in early July when he was pulled off of Air Force Two just before takeoff. The White House as usual couldn’t exactly get its story straight on the reason why before eventually settling on “something came up” that required Pence to stay in Washington, D.C.

The dramatic, last-second cancellation combined with the administration’s history of lying about everything set off a great deal of speculation about the reason behind it. It was not helped by the mysterious public statements of administration officials, including President Trump, who told reporters “you’ll know in about two weeks” what had happened.

On Monday Politico may have put the mystery to rest:

Among the problems was a federal law enforcement probe involving individuals Pence would likely encounter, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the incident. If Pence stepped off the vice presidential aircraft, one of the people he would have seen on the ground was under investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration for moving more than $100,000 of fentanyl from Massachusetts to New Hampshire.

That person, a former NFL player named Jeff Hatch, pleaded guilty in federal court on Friday and faces up to four years in prison.

Hatch, who has struggled with addiction himself, worked for the addiction treatment center in New Hampshire where Pence was scheduled to speak. He is known across the state for giving speeches to students to warn them about the dangers of drug use.

Yet the FBI alleges that in July of 2017, Hatch brought 1,500 grams of fentanyl from a supplier in Lawrence, Massachusetts to his New Hampshire home, where he then passed it on to couriers as part of a drug-dealing ring. (A baggie of fentanyl bought on the street in the state contains about one-tenth of a gram.)

And the Vice President of the United States came very close to meeting with him. That would have been awkward.


Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.