FAIRFAX, Va. — A northern Virginia mayor was facing drug charges Friday after his arrest in a meth-for-sex sting, police said.
Three-term City of Fairfax Mayor R. Scott Silverthorne was arrested Thursday after meeting at a hotel with undercover detectives he connected with through a website used to arrange casual sexual encounters between men, police said.
Police had an idea that they were pursuing the mayor from the beginning of the investigation sparked by a tip that Silverthorne was involved in a website, where he was exchanging methamphetamines for sex, Fairfax County police Capt. Jack Hardin said at a news conference. He did not reveal the name of the website.
Silverthorne made contact with an undercover detective who had created a profile on the site just two days before, he said. Hardin didn’t know how long Silverthorne had been on the website.
“I do know that he had one other relationship on the website besides us,” Hardin said. “Another person was on the website and they connected through this website and met and exchanged methamphetamine for sex.”
The undercover detectives agreed to meet for a group sexual encounter in exchange for methamphetamine, police said. Silverthorne, 50, would provide methamphetamine and the undercover detectives would provide the hotel room, Hardin said.
After detectives met Silverthorne at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in McLean on Thursday night, they saw him meet suppliers, Hardin said. Silverthorne was arrested after police said he gave detectives methamphetamine. Hardin said he had two grams of methamphetamine and provided a full confession, Hardin said.
One person that was with the mayor was arrested and another person was released, Hardin said.
Detectives were able to find and arrest the suppliers, who were still in the area, he said. Detectives charged Juan Jose Fernandez, 34, of Takoma Park, Maryland, with distribution of methamphetamine, possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Caustin Lee McLaughlin, 21, also of Takoma Park, was charged with distribution of methamphetamine, obstruction of justice and possession of drug paraphernalia. As detectives arrested McLaughlin, police said he resisted and a detective used his stun gun. Police said there were no injuries.
All three men were taken to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center for processing.
Silverthorne, in an email, referred questions to his attorney, Brian Drummond, who did not immediately return a call seeking comment Friday.
Calls to the office of the Public Defender, which is representing Fernandez, were not returned. No attorney is listed for McLaughlin on online court records.
Silverthorne was re-elected in May for a third term of the city west of Washington after a tumultuous year in which The Washington Post reported he lost his job with the National Association of Manufacturers, filed for bankruptcy, lost his home to foreclosure and was diagnosed with cancer. He announced in November that he’d been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, and the Post said he underwent treatment that ended two months before the election.
Silverthorne defeated Tom Ammazzalorso in May with 58 percent of the vote. The Post reported Ammazzalorso, a high school history teacher in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and a former Republican official, mailed a flyer to voters that questioned Silverthorne’s fitness to oversee city finances, given his personal financial problems.
Ammazzalorso challenged the mayor’s plan to continue development in the small, suburban community that is the county seat of Fairfax County, but which has its own mayor, City Council and police force. The 6.3-square-mile city has a population of just over 24,000, according to the Census Bureau.
Fairfax County Public Schools spokesman John Torre says Silverthorne was hired as a substitute teacher in April and terminated Friday because of this arrest. Silverthorne was used as a substitute between April and the end of the school year, he said.
Silverthorne, a Democrat, also served on the Fairfax City Council. He was released on his own recognizance pending a preliminary hearing Oct. 31.
His father, the late Frederick Silverthorne, was mayor of Fairfax in the late 1970s and early 1980s.