Twelve airmen under investigation in connection with Lakenheath drug ring
October 6, 2006
RAF LAKENHEATH, England — A dozen airmen serving in the United Kingdom are under investigation in connection with a drug ring on the Air Force’s largest base in England, authorities said.
The 12 airmen, 11 of whom serve at either the 48th Maintenance Group or the 48th Medical Group, are suspected of peddling cocaine, Ecstasy and marijuana in the dormitories on RAF Lakenheath, according to base spokeswoman Capt. Beth Horine.
The 12th airman serves on nearby RAF Mildenhall, home to the U.S. Air Force’s 100th Air Refueling Wing. Those under investigation hold the rank of either airman 1st class or senior airman, Horine said.
Two civilians also were questioned, and their names will be turned over to British law enforcement authorities. No charges have been filed.
The Air Force Office of Special Investigations, which is conducting the probe, refused to comment on the case.
The investigation began earlier this year in the spring after Air Force investigators began to hear rumors about the distribution, Horine said.
Investigators began to call suspects in for questioning on Sept. 1 and notified the 48th Judge Advocate General’s office and base commander Brig. Gen. Robert P. Steel on Sept. 12 of its initial findings.
They also seized an undisclosed quantity of contraband suspected of being illegal narcotics. A lab is working to identify the substance.
Horine said the investigation was not related to random, involuntary urinalysis tests conducted on 25 people entering Gate 1 of RAF Lakenheath early on a Saturday morning in September.
In October 2002, 27 airmen were questioned about the use and distribution of illegal drugs including Ecstasy. At least two airmen ultimately faced a court-martial.