KODIAK — Nine Coast Guard members face criminal charges of use, possession and distribution of cocaine and marijuana as a result of the USCG’s internal investigation into drug use in Kodiak, according to documents obtained by the Kodiak Daily Mirror. A majority of those charged are aviation technicians stationed at Base Kodiak or Air Station Kodiak.
The Coast Guard learned of allegations of illicit drug activity among service members in the fall of 2018 and referred the matter to the Coast Guard Investigative Service. A total of 31 service members have faced some kind of punishment as a result of the investigation so far; the investigation remains ongoing.
In February, USCG announced it had initiated criminal proceedings against 12 service members — most of whom were assigned to various units in Kodiak — as a result of the investigation. According to Lt. Cmdr. Raymond Reichl, of the 12 service members who were criminally charged, three subsequently made plea agreements and are no longer facing criminal charges. These three service members were part of the nonjudicial proceedings that took place in Kodiak on April 11 and 12.
USCG provided the charge sheets for the nine servicemembers still facing criminal charges to the Kodiak Daily Mirror, following a Freedom of Information Act request. The charge sheets were redacted so as not to disclose the identities of those charged, but did offer information on their positions, stations and charges.
Six of the nine who face criminal charges are Aviation Electrical Technicians and Aviation Maintenance Technicians stationed on Base Kodiak. The other three include a Seaman aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley, an AET at Air Station Kodiak and an AMT at Air Station Barbers Point.
A letter provided along with the charge sheets stated: “Please note, charges and specifications are merely accusations. The accused are innocent until proven guilty, at courts-martial.”
Most of the charges relate to illegal drug use. There are four charges of use of cocaine, with the alleged activity all occurring in Kodiak between May and October. There are also four charges for use of marijuana, two charges for possession of cocaine, two charges for distribution of cocaine and one charge for distribution of marijuana. The charge sheets did not include information on the quantities involved for the distribution charges.
Several of the service members are facing charges of having made false statements regarding drug use to Coast Guard Investigative Service Special Agents and one faces a charge of failing to obey an order to not discuss the investigation with others.
While most of the charges relate to alleged criminal activity that occurred in and around Kodiak, the Seaman stationed on the CGC Alex Haley faces a charge of distributing cocaine in Hawaii.
One of the service members, an AET stationed on Base Kodiak, faces charges that are anomalous with the rest. The service member faces charges of assault, destroying personal property and disorderly conduct, all relating to activity that took place in May 2017. Specifically, the service member is accused of having destroyed a cell phone valued at $500 by “breaking (it) on his knee,” of assaulting an individual by pulling their hair, and of being drunk and disorderly.
There was no clarification of how these charges are connected with the drug investigation.