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SEOUL — U.S. Army officials said Thursday that the eight soldiers they earlier reported under arrest in connection with an ongoing drug investigation were never arrested.

But 8th Army spokesman Lt. Col. Brodrick Bailey refused to clarify any details — including what duty or legal status those troops are under, or if eight was even the correct number involved in the secretive case.

“I’m not going to give you details about the investigation to justify the correction,” Bailey said during a phone interview.

He added that facts he thought were true when he released them in early January “turned out to be in fact an error.”

Stripes learned of the case through an anonymous source on Jan. 4 and queried Bailey.

On Jan. 7, Bailey stated eight soldiers had been arrested on Dec. 29 on drug-related charges, but he refused to provide additional information because the incident was under investigation.

Bailey acknowledged the error Thursday in an e-mail response to a second letter Stripes sent to him, 8th Army Commander Lt. Gen. David P. Valcourt and U.S. Forces Korea spokesman Col. Franklin Childress requesting that more information be made public in the case. Bailey has maintained that Army regulations support their decision not to release any details because to do so would affect the investigation.

Earlier this week, South Korean customs officials told Stars and Stripes that in late December they had discovered marijuana in a box mailed to a U.S. soldier and had contacted U.S. military authorities.

They said a joint sting operation was launched in which the box, which had arrived in a normal military mail shipment at Incheon Airport, was allowed to be delivered to a U.S. soldier on Camp Casey.

The South Korean customs agents said they had been told that eight troops were arrested, but that the U.S. Army didn’t provide their names to customs because the legal action took place on a U.S. base.

Bailey refused to confirm any of the customs agents’ claims Thursday night.

“Just print a correction,” he said

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