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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A Marine was sentenced to three years of confinement Friday after pleading guilty to conspiracy and the wrongful use and distribution of Ecstasy and marijuana on Camp Foster.

Lance Cpl. Brandon J. Jones of the 3rd Marine Logistics Group also pleaded guilty to bringing illegal drugs onto a military base and making two false official statements. He was reduced to E-1 and given a dishonorable discharge during the one-day general court-martial at Camp Foster.

In late February, Jones conspired with a Japanese friend off base to sell five capsules of an unidentified substance that Jones believed to be Ecstasy, he testified.

“I was hanging out with her, and she showed me the pills and asked me if I wanted to try them,” said Jones, who has been stationed on Okinawa since 2003 and joined the Marine Corps in September 2002.

He said he paid the woman $100 for five of the pills.

He testified that on that same day he went to a Camp Foster barracks and sold the pills to two Marines in his unit for $400.

Jones asked his Japanese friend for more of the pills, but she couldn’t get any, so he asked her for marijuana that he could sell instead, he said.

Soon after, Jones and one of the Marines to whom he sold the drug tested positive for Ecstasy, according to court records. Jones also tested positive for marijuana.

In early March, Jones received a nonjudicial punishment for drug use, and the Marine Corps began processing an administrative discharge, according to court records.

Three Marines testified that after that punishment Jones sold them marijuana. All three, with whom Jones had deployed to Iraq, testified that Jones approached them about buying drugs after he had first sounded them out for previous drug use.

Pvt. Seth A. Warso, who has three years in service and was demoted from corporal in a related court-martial, told the court that Jones knew he had a history of drug use before joining the Corps because the two had talked about it while in Iraq. He testified that in July and August, he bought marijuana from Jones five to 10 times.

Jones also made arrangements to meet a mechanic who was working on his car to sell him marijuana in exchange for a discount on his car repairs, Jones said. The two met at the Camp Foster shoppette for the transaction, he testified.

Five other Marines have been court-martialed and are being processed out of the Marine Corps in connection with this case, according to court records.

In an unsworn statement, Jones said he had a history of drug use and joined the Marine Corps for a better life. He said he fell into an old crowd of friends while home on leave in Montgomery, Ala., following a Red Cross message about his ill grandmother.

With a newly pregnant wife and financial troubles from the unplanned flight home, he needed to make money, he said.

“I decided I was going to try to make some quick money to get financially stable again,” he said of his decision to sell drugs.

Asking for seven years of confinement, prosecutor Capt. Robert A. Plagmann told the military judge, “He set up shop right under the nose of the command” after he had avoided jail time for his initial offense.

Defense counsel Capt. Clinton Crosser said seven years was excessive and that a more appropriate punishment would be “15 to 18 months with rehabilitation as the emphasis of his future.”

Crosser also argued against a dishonorable discharge, saying Jones has been to Iraq twice and earned a combat action ribbon.

The military judge handed down a sentence that included four years of jail time, with one year suspended under a pretrial agreement. Jones also was ordered to forfeit all pay and allowances; that portion of the sentence is postponed about seven months under the pretrial agreement. Jones has already served 149 days of pretrial confinement.

Jones could have been sentenced to a maximum of 107 years of confinement.


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