Fort Bragg soldiers who last saw paratrooper alive face conspiracy, drug charges
The Fayetteville Observer January 21, 2022
(Tribune News Service) — Three Fort Bragg soldiers who were camping with another soldier whose partial remains washed up along Cape Lookout National Seashore in 2020 are facing court martial on drug use and other charges.
Spc. Alex R. Becerra, Pvt. Annamarie L. Cochell and Pfc. Samad A. Landrum, along with four others, were camping on the remote North Carolina island with Spc. Enrique Roman-Martinez, 21, when Roman-Martinez was reported missing May 22, 2020.
His severed head washed ashore six days later. His body has never been recovered.
Roman-Martinez, Becerra, Landrum and Cochell were assigned to the 37th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
According to charge sheets, Becerra, Cochell and Landrum are each charged with making a false official statement, disobeying a lawful order and using LSD, a hallucinogenic drug.
Becerra, who made the 911 to report Roman-Martinez missing, was arraigned Jan. 13 on additional charges of conspiracy, two counts of disobeying a lawful command and another count of making a false statement, according to court records.
According to the charge sheet, Becerra allegedly:
— Made a false statement to officials by omitting the presence of another individual when Becerra said he and two others left the island at 3 a.m. May 22, 2020, to board a ferry in Davis, North Carolina,
— Made a false statement when he failed to admit another individual joined the group on the camping trip,
— Denied drugs were involved in the trip.
Becerra and Cochell are each also charged with disobeying a lawful order for having contact with soldiers they were ordered to stay away from.
Becerra’s trial is scheduled for May 31 to June 3.
The charge sheets allege Landrum and Cochell conspired with others whose names were redacted to make a false statement when they also reportedly didn’t include the name of the fourth individual who was with them on the ferry trip.
Landrum also allegedly denied drugs were involved in the trip, the document states, and in another instance he omitted the presence of an individual when he told investigators that on the night Roman-Martinez went missing, one soldier was sleeping, another was fishing and another was watching the fishing soldier.
Landrum’s trial is scheduled for March 21 to March 24. Cochell’s trial is scheduled for April 25 to April 28.
Roman-Martinez’s homicide case remains open but was moved to “cold case status,” a spokeswoman for the Army Criminal Investigation Division said in November. No one has been charged with his death.
Lt. Col. Brett Lea, a spokesman for the 82nd Airborne Division, said the CID is continuing to offer its $50,000 reward for information that resolves the investigation.
“These charges are unrelated to the death of Spc. Enrique Roman-Martinez, which remains unsolved,” Lea said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Army special agents at 910-396-8777 or the Military Police Desk at 910-396-1179.
They can also anonymously submit information at www.cid.army.mil/report-a-crime.html.
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