Soldier will serve 18 months for selling drugs
October 29, 2007
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — A 2nd Infantry Division soldier who sold drugs in his barracks was sentenced Saturday to 20 months in prison and a bad conduct discharge during a general court-martial at Yongsan Garrison.
He will serve only 18 months, however, because of a pre-trial agreement made in exchange for his guilty plea.
Pvt. Desiron Robertson, 4th Chemical Company, pleaded guilty to charges of selling ecstasy and Xanax, a prescription drug, to members of his company. He also pleaded guilty to disobeying an order from his company commander restricting him to camps Hovey and Casey.
The maximum sentence he could have received was 45 years’ confinement, a dishonorable discharge and total forfeiture of all pay and allowances.
Charges of disobeying a noncommissioned officer and one charge of possession with intent to distribute were dismissed after the judge, Col. Donna Wright, said there were inconsistencies in the paperwork.
During the sentencing phase, prosecutors called Robertson’s company commander, Capt. Jeremy Johns, to testify about the effects drugs could have on his unit.
Johns said Robertson’s actions caused three soldiers to “come up hot” during a urinalysis.
“If [soldiers] are showing up to work under the influence, it’s an absolute negative,” Johns said.
Witnesses for the defense included Robertson’s former squad leader and his former platoon sergeant. They said Robertson was a hard worker and a good soldier who fell in with a bad crowd.
During closing arguments, prosecutor Capt. Mike Sweetman asked Wright to sentence Robertson to 30 months’ confinement and a dishonorable discharge. He said Robertson “had no potential for rehabilitation” and that he was “literally poisoning his unit.”
Defense attorney Capt. Patrick Davis asked that Robertson be sentenced to no more than between six- and nine-months’ confinement and a bad conduct discharge.
Prior to being sentenced, Robertson gave an unsworn statement apologizing for his crimes.
“There are no words to express the guilt I feel,” he said. “I disgraced myself. I disgraced my country. I disgraced putting on that uniform. I know I deserve whatever punishment I receive. But I’m not a bad person. I just made a bad decision.”