Two counts dropped in black market trial
A military judge dropped two charges Wednesday against a Marine staff sergeant accused of selling military uniforms and equipment to an Okinawan man prosecutors allege is a black marketer.
Maj. Charles Hale dismissed charges against Staff Sgt. Jeffery Gregorec of adultery and of violating a lawful order for allegedly giving military-style training to Japanese nationals while in uniform.
Gregorec, 38, of the III Marine Expeditionary Force’s Special Operations Training Group, remains charged with several other counts including selling military property, violating a lawful order, dereliction of duty, larceny, assault and unbecoming conduct.
He has pleaded not guilty to everything except one charge of violating a lawful order.
The charges were dropped during the second day of the special court-martial for lack of evidence after Gregorec’s attorney, Capt. Jennifer Herrmann, noted that Gregorec appears in civilian clothing in photographs of the alleged training provided by the prosecution.
The prosecution did not produce evidence that Gregorec conducted military-style training in Shizuoka, Japan, while in uniform, at a “recon school” run by Eiji Teruya, the owner of the military surplus store Okinawa Ordnance.
Prosecutors allege that starting in January 2004, Gregorec began selling military gear to Teruya, who in turn resold the gear for a premium to customers on the Japanese mainland.
On Wednesday, Teruya told the court that he never gave Gregorec money.
“We never purchased any gear from him,” Teruya said.
Teruya’s estranged wife told the court Tuesday that at her husband’s request, she gave Gregorec money for gear and had used a form of bookkeeping designed to keep Gregorec’s alleged transactions secret.
When asked if he gave Gregorec anything, Teruya answered that he occasionally bought him dinner and “juice from (my) Family Mart.”
Teruya said his testimony differs from his wife’s because she is trying to hurt him financially.
Prosecutors also contend that Gregorec brought a small group of Japanese nationals, including Teruya, on to Camp Hansen and let them fire weapons on Range 16.
He told the court he went to a range with other Japanese when weapons were being fired. When asked if he fired a weapon he held, Teruya said he wasn’t sure.
“I was so excited about holding the gun that I don’t know if I pulled the trigger,” he testified.