Airman pleads guilty to distributing drug
October 12, 2007
OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — An Air Force police officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to distributing Percocet by giving it to fellow airmen, but denied abusing the drug herself.
Airman Shannon L. Sigsbury of the 51st Security Forces Squadron is one of nine police from the squadron caught in an Air Force investigation of alleged Percocet abuse at Osan. She’s the third of the nine to stand trial. A fourth airman is set for trial on Friday.
The nine did not comprise an organized drug ring, base officials have said.
Sigsbury’s alleged misconduct occurred between March and May.
On Wednesday, she testified she was prescribed Percocet at Osan’s base hospital after surgery, and later gave some of her pills to several fellow airmen who used them to get high.
She also admitted joining with airmen in snorting Percocet — inhaling it through the nostrils in a crushed, powdered form — but contended her use was not illegal because the drug was prescribed to her and she was taking it only to relieve pain.
“It was just a way to relieve pain faster,” Sigsbury testified. “I didn’t think it was that big of a deal.” Snorting it brought her relief within five to 10 minutes, she said, while taking it orally could mean waiting 20 to 30 minutes for relief.
Her conviction on the charge of wrongfully distributing Percocet carries a maximum penalty of a year in prison, reduction in rank, forfeiture of two-thirds pay for a year, and a bad-conduct discharge.
The Air Force is trying her under the rules for special courts-martial before military judge Col. Mark Allred and a jury of two lieutenant colonels, one major and a captain.
On Wednesday the court heard testimony from an Osan-based Air Force investigator who said she and a colleague questioned Sigsbury for more than five hours.
“We asked her, how did she use it, how many times and with whom?” said Special Agent Gianna Carter of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.
Carter testified Sigsbury denied snorting Percocet, then admitted it but gave conflicting accounts as to the number of times she did so.
Also testifying for the prosecution Wednesday was Airman Basic Cody D. Sousa, who said he and Sigsbury snorted the drug.
“We were out in the smoke pit, I believe,” said Sousa. “Percocet came into the conversation. We went to her room, got it, went to my room, and snorted it.”
Sousa is one of two of the nine airmen who have received nonjudicial punishment under U.S. military law and now faces administrative discharge.
On Oct. 5, then-Senior Airman Chance W. Slaughter, 27, who was Airman of the Quarter at Osan for October–December 2006, pleaded guilty to repeatedly abusing Percocet. He was sentenced to four months in jail, reduction to E-1 — the military’s lowest rank — and given a bad-conduct discharge.
On Sept. 14, then-Airman 1st Class Jessica L. Billings pleaded guilty to selling Percocet to Slaughter. She was sentenced to reduction to E-1, forfeiture of pay for two months and two months confinement.
Sigsbury’s trial was to resume Thursday morning.
Prosecuting Sigsbury is Capt. Rob Stuart and Capt. John Shin. Her defense lawyer is Capt. Lance Freeman.