Vice President Mike Pence was one short plane ride away from shaking hands with an alleged interstate drug dealer.
Pence abruptly canceled his trip to Manchester, N.H., earlier this month but never said why he was pulled from Air Force Two at the last minute.
The vice president’s aides and even President Donald Trump himself kept up the suspense. “You’ll know in about two weeks,” Trump told reporters at the time. “There was a very interesting problem that they had in New Hampshire.”
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.
Jeff Hatch, who agreed in federal court Friday to plead guilty and will face up to four years in prison, works for an opioid addiction treatment center in southern New Hampshire that Pence was set to visit. A former New York Giants player, he has spoken publicly for years about his own challenge with drug and alcohol addiction, which ended his football career.