US attorney for New Hampshire to leave post

AP photoJohn Kacavas

CONCORD (AP) — John Kacavas, United States Attorney for New Hampshire, is resigning after nearly six years of targeting Internet crimes against children and overseeing the case of a medical technician who infected 45 patients in multiple states with hepatitis C.

He announced his resignation, effective April 17, in a statement Thursday.

Kacavas was nominated by President Barack Obama. He was sworn in Aug. 13, 2009.

He convicted offenders such as John Allen Wright, a school bus driver who videotaped himself sexually assaulting several autistic boys. Wright was sentenced to 160 years in prison.

Kacavas led the prosecution of David Kwiatkowski, who stole painkillers and infected dozens of patients with hepatitis C through tainted syringes. Kwiatkowski, whom Kacavas called a "serial infector," worked in 18 hospitals before being hired at Exeter Hospital in 2011. He's serving a 39-year sentence.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Kacavas, in six years in office, "has safeguarded the people of New Hampshire and left an indelible mark on the nation."

"As Chairman of the Attorney General's Advisory Committee's Forensic Science Working Group, John has been an indispensable adviser to me, guiding the Justice Department's use of forensic science to ensure that we rely on it knowledgeably, responsibly and effectively," Holder said.

Kacavas is leading the prosecutions of more than half a dozen drug traffickers who are members of the notorious Sinaloa drug cartel. Prosecutors say the defendants, several of whom have pleaded guilty, conspired to sell more than 1,000 kilos of cocaine and other drugs to undercover agents posing as Italian drug lords.

"This is law enforcement in the 21st century," Kacavas said of New Hampshire taking the lead on the high-profile, international case. "The world is smaller, and we have to work with law enforcement agencies across the country and across the world in order to stem the tide of these drug trafficking organizations shipping their poison to our streets."

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Joseph Laplante said Kacavas has emphasized courtroom advocacy and mentored numerous young prosecutors into seasoned litigators.

"He has personally appeared in court more frequently than is customary for that position," Laplante said.

Laplante said Kacavas has also embraced sentencing reforms and alternative courts, such as the district's intensive LASER court docket to redirect drug offenders away from prison and into sober, productive lives.

Kacavas previously worked as a prosecutor in the state attorney general's office, where he was chief of the homicide unit. He left for private practice in 1998, and founded his own firm in Manchester in 2002.

Kacavas, a Democrat, also served one term in the state Legislature from 2001 to 2003.

He did not say what he would pursue next.

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