Thursday, April 14, 2005
Several local Coast Guard personnel, whose primary responsibilities include the enforcement of drug laws, may soon be charged with using or possessing illegal drugs, according to a spokesman. Coast Guard District 11 Public Affairs Officer Roger Gayman says they could face charges as soon as next week.
“On Jan. 20 the Coast Guard assigned an investigator,” Gayman says. “And the investigation is completed, although there has been no legal action as yet.”
He declined to give any details on the case, citing “the rights of those involved.”
A source familiar with the investigation, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Weekly that six enlisted personnel are under suspicion of the use or possession of methamphetamines. Gayman would not comment on the number of people or the substance in question.
He says more details on the case will be available “fairly soon, probably in the month of April,” when charges are pressed.
Gayman says the situation has not affected the Coast Guard’s ability to perform its duties. He says he is not aware of any other previous incidents at the Monterey station, and that drug convictions in the Coast Guard are not very common.
“It’s unfortunate because the Coast Guard are law enforcement personnel,” Gayman says. “But it’s a well-known fact that drug use does affect all facets of society.”
Gayman says he believes that it’s “highly unlikely” that the controlled substances in question were seized by the Coast Guard officers in the course of their duties. “In fact, I would be shocked if this were the case,” he said, “but you can’t rule anything out.”
The use of illegal drugs violates Article 112A of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Convicted users of illegal drugs may be subject to punitive discharges, prison or both, as well as the loss of military benefits and privileges.
According to Lars C. Johnson, a New York attorney who specializes in military law, the accused could face up to a decade or more in a Department of Defense confinement facility, depending on whether the case is a special or general court-martial. Depending on the severity of the offense, the convicted guardsmen could receive up to 12 months for the less serious special court-martial or up to 15 years for a general court-martial.
“For the use of any Schedule I-III controlled substance [such as heroin, ecstacy, peyote, psilocybin, LSD, anabolic steroids or opiates] they would receive five years per specification; for a Schedule IV-V controlled substance such as [less than 30 grams of] marijuana they’d get two years; for more serious offenses like distribution you’re looking at 15 years for the Schedule I-III substances and 10 years for Schedule IV-V substances.”
The Coast Guard has a zero tolerance policy on the use of illegal drugs and tests its members with a “state-of-the-art” urinalysis program. This technology allows the Coast Guard to regularly test for a variety of drugs.
The US Coast Guard’s Monterey facilities are located
between Lighthouse and Foam Streets off Reeside Avenue.
Cost to companies per hour per female employee in lost productivity by keeping offices too cold. Source: Cornell University study.