David Hughart now faces up to six years in prison and a $350,000 fine.
David Hughart of Crab Orchard admitted that he conspired to impede the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
The 53-year-old admitted that he and others at Massey conspired to violate health and safety laws and concealed those violations by warning mining operations when MSHA inspectors were arriving to conduct mine inspections.
Hughart is the former president of Massey’s Green Valley Resource Group and is the highest-ranking official charged to date in an ongoing federal investigation.
In a press release, US Attorney Booth Goodwin said, “Mine safety and health laws are not optional.”
Hughart’s cooperation has been viewed as a sign that authorities may be gathering evidence to target officials further up the Massey hierarchy.
He is believed to be the highest ranking level mine executive ever charged.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division.
Alpha Natural Resources, which acquired Massey’s operations in a June 2011 merger, is continuing to cooperate with the investigation.
Sentencing for Hughart is set for June.