Ex-mine executive charged with conspiracy and cooperating with feds in W.Va. explosion probe

An executive who ran several coal companies faces criminal conspiracy charges and is cooperating with federal prosecutors investigating a West Virginia mine explosion that was the nation's worst in four decades.

Massey Energy coal executive David Craig Hughart is named in a federal information document filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court. An information document signals that a defendant is cooperating.

The document accuses Hughart of working with unidentified co-conspirators to ensure miners at White Buck Coal Co. and other Massey-owned mines received advanced warning about federal inspections over a 10-year period.

Although the document doesn't directly mention the Upper Big Branch mine, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin tells The Associated Press the charges stem from his continuing investigation of the April 2010 explosion there that killed 29 men.