The Coast Guard last week held non-judicial hearings which stem from on ongoing investigation begun in fall of 2018 into drug activity in the Coast Guard in Kodiak.
Sixteen members were ‘held accountable’ on charges related to illegal possession and consumption of drugs. Because the Coast Guard has a zero-tolerance policy, all face administrative separation from service.
Another nine members could still face felony charges.
The Coast Guard on Friday disciplined 16 service members for wrongful use of controlled substances and other related misconduct in conjunction with an investigation that began last fall into drug activity and use by Kodiak Coast Guard members.
Lt. Commander Ray Reichl is the Chief of External Affairs, based in Juneau. He said the investigation continues, and that nine additional Coast Guard members were referred for additional charges. They could face Courts Marshall and receive a felony conviction.
The proceedings were held on base Thursday and Friday. Rear Admiral Mathew T. Bell Jr., the Commander the of Coast Guard’s 17 District in Juneau was the convening authority for the proceedings.
Most of the members involved last week’s proceedings were assigned to various Coast Guard units in Kodiak and all faced similar charges.
Lt. Commander Reichl.
“So for the people who have been held accountable were ones that were found for the unlawful possession and consumption of those prohibited drugs. The investigation is still ongoing so it is possible that there may be additional members identified or additional infractions identified for some of those new members. But for the people who have been held accountable to this point, it’s all been related to the possession and consumption of drugs.”
Last week’s non-judicial proceeding, was a disciplinary hearing in which the convening authority, in this case the District Admiral, hears and disposes of cases according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Non-judicial punishment is disciplinary in nature, and is not a criminal conviction. Punishments can include loss of pay, reduction in paygrade, as well as restriction to base or barracks for a specific period of time.
However, the Coast Guard has a no tolerance policy, and all 16 service members disciplined last week face administrative separation from the service according to Reichl.
Reichl added that at no time was the public or the Coast Guard’s mission in any danger during the investigation period.