Testimony reveals 18 nabbed in drug probe
RAF LAKENHEATH, England — At least 18 people, many of whom are affiliated with the U.S. military, were apprehended recently as part of an ongoing drug investigation, court-martial testimony revealed Monday.
An Air Force Office of Special Investigations special agent told the court that Airman 1st Class Daniel Tucker — on trial for wrongfully distributing the painkiller Percocet — tipped authorities to those involved in the distribution and use of illegal narcotics such as marijuana, cocaine, Ecstasy and ketamine, an animal tranquilizer.
Two or three active-duty servicemembers, six dependents and 10 British civilians were nabbed in the drug bust, according to court testimony that did not disclose where the servicemembers are stationed.
Special Agent Arthur Katis testified that Tucker worked as his informant after being caught giving 32 Percocet pills to an 18-year-old dependent on RAF Lakenheath in June. Tucker’s cooperation with OSI and other authorities was used in court for his defense.
Tucker pleaded guilty to the wrongful distribution charge on Monday. Military judge Maj. Jennifer Klein sentenced the 48th Munitions Squadron airman to 75 days confinement, reduction to E-1 and forfeiture of $867 a month for two months.
The RAF Lakenheath airman will not serve more than 60 days as part of his pretrial agreement, according to base spokeswoman Airman 1st Class Torri Ingalsbe.
Using an alias, Tucker gained the confidence of targets so well that he was able to purchase a half pound of marijuana. He also wrote narratives on drug-related events, according to testimony by Katis, who is based at RAF Mildenhall.
From tips provided by Tucker, British police were able to execute a search warrant at an off-base location that resulted in the seizure of a handgun and 30-plus marijuana baggies ready for distribution. The drugs were worth $2,000 in U.S. cash, according to court testimony.
“He had been the most reliable,” Katis told the court when asked how Tucker ranked among his other informants.
Despite queries by Stars and Stripes, base officials wouldn’t discuss any other specifics of the ongoing drug investigation or if any charges have been filed against those apprehended.
In his trial, Tucker asked for leniency in a statement that he read to Klein prior to his sentencing. He apologized to the court for distributing the leftover Percocet he had originally been prescribed for a previous surgery.
“I didn’t think this would come back to haunt me,” Tucker told the court.
Capt. Joshua Goins, prosecuting, told the court that even though Tucker helped law enforcement after breaking the law, he shouldn’t get a get-out-of-jail for free card.
“Let him know that this conduct is unacceptable,” Goins addressed the judge.