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Pence's Trip to New Hampshire Axed Over Alleged Drug Dealer

The VP would have encountered Jeff Hatch, Politico explains
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2019 9:55 AM CDT
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Vice President Mike Pence arrives at the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport on Monday in Aspen, Colo.   (Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times via AP)

(Newser) – There were nothing but question marks after Mike Pence suddenly canceled a planned appearance in New Hampshire on July 2 just before Air Force Two was set to depart. His office referenced an unspecified security concern, reports the Washington Post. President Trump offered something more intriguing: "You'll know in about two weeks. There was a very interesting problem." That "interesting problem" was an alleged drug dealer who Pence was set to meet with at the opioid-focused event in the Manchester area, reports Politico by way of a law enforcement source. Pence was slated to participate in a a roundtable discussion with former patients of Granite Recovery Centers, whose chief business development officer at the time was Jeff Hatch, who's set to be sentenced to up to four years in prison.

As Politico puts it, "Pence was one short plane ride away from shaking hands with an alleged interstate drug dealer." Hatch, 39, pleaded guilty on Friday to a count of using a phone to commit a crime, a charge arrived at after he agreed to help authorities nab bigger dealers. Per court documents, he was found to have 1,500 grams of fentanyl, worth more than $100,000, on him in 2017, which he's said to have sourced from a Massachusetts dealer; he then allegedly distributed some of it to an undercover agent. Hatch spoke publicly throughout the state about his career-ending opioid addiction spurred by a back injury. Talking Points Memo reports Pence himself addressed the situation in an episode of The Takeout podcast that aired Tuesday, saying without elaboration that "a circumstance on the ground made our ... trip there no longer appropriate." (Read more Mike Pence stories.)

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