Marine gets discharge, time in brig in drug case
June 4, 2008
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A Marine was handed a bad conduct discharge and 300 days in the brig Monday for distributing cocaine in a Camp Courtney barracks.
Lance Cpl. Christopher Griffin, 24, assigned to the 3rd Marine Division, also was reduced in rank to E-1 and forfeited $890 pay for 10 months.
Griffin pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute drugs between Dec. 1 and Jan. 31 and two counts of delivering the drugs from the supplier, another Marine, to an acquaintance who lived down the hall.
Griffin told the judge, Maj. Charles Hale, that he delivered a gram of cocaine to the Marine as a way to reduce his debt to the dealer. An investigation into the alleged drug ring is continuing, said prosecutor Capt. Paul Ervasti. Griffin, from Alabama, wiped tears from his eyes as his attorney, Marine Capt. Clinton Crosser, argued he be allowed to remain in the Marine Corps.
"There was a network going," he said of the dealer’s operation. "They were distributing drugs from outside to the barracks. But not Lance Corporal Griffin. He was just a mule who walked a little plastic bag down the hallway of the barracks, that’s all."
In a statement, Griffin begged to remain a Marine.
"I know I messed up, but I’m taking responsibility for my act," he said. "I just want to be a Marine and see combat."
Ervasti argued that no one knows how long Griffin would have worked for the dealer, another lance corporal, had he not been arrested.
"He got caught right away, that’s why he only did it twice," the prosecutor said.
"He chose to peddle this poison to a fellow Marine. We’ve got to ask ourselves if this is the type of person we want covering our back in combat."
Under the terms of a pretrial agreement, jail time in excess of nine months will be suspended.