Vilseck-based soldier gets 25 yearsfor distributing 13,000 Ecstasy pills
September 18, 2003
A Vilseck, Germany-based soldier will spend the next 25 years behind bars for selling and distributing the popular party drug Ecstasy.
In a two-day jury trial last week, Army Pvt. Christopher Peiffer was found guilty of distributing 13,000 Ecstasy pills over an 18-month period, according to Capt. Brian Sardelli, lead prosecutor in the case.
The lengthy sentence is equivalent to the crime, Sardelli said.
“From the government’s perspective, I think it’s a just sentence, considering the number of pills he was found in possession of,” Sardelli said. “Twenty-five years is a long time to serve, but the thing that stands out is just the number of pills.
“This is not your average case of 1,500 pills or something like that.”
Peiffer, a former soldier with the Headquarters, Headquarters Company of the 2nd Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, was also given a dishonorable discharge, reduced in rank to E-1 and ordered to forfeit all pay and allowances.
According to court testimony, before he enlisted in the Army Peiffer devised a plan to distribute the drug along with Christopher Yerbey, a friend in Alabama.
The two would go to Amsterdam, buy the pills and Peiffer would ship the pills back to the States for Yerbey to distribute.
“Pvt. Peiffer would take [the Ecstasy] back to the Vilseck area, and ship it via UPS where … Yerbey would sell it,” Sardelli said. “My understanding was … Pvt. Peiffer was also skimming off the top and selling here.”
After being tipped off by a confidential informant, Criminal Investigative Command officials caught Peiffer last October with 4,600 Ecstasy pills in his barracks room.
Peiffer is being held at the U.S. Army Confinement Facility at Mannheim, where a final decision will be made as to where he will serve his prison term, Sardelli said.
“My understanding is, because of the sentence, that he will be sent to [Fort] Leavenworth [Kan.],” he said.
There are currently 28 inmates out of a population of 450 at the Fort Leavenworth U.S. Disciplinary Barracks who are confined for drug possession, drug use or trafficking. All inmates at the prison must have a sentence of at least seven years and one day in order to be confined there.
Yerbey was extradited to Germany where he was convicted and is currently serving a 3½-year jail term at a German confinement facility.
During their investigation, CID agents discovered a second Vilseck soldier was also distributing Ecstasy tablets.
The soldier, Pvt. Michelle Lord of the 201st Forward Support Battalion, was caught selling the tablets to an undercover CID agent. She was convicted in April and sentenced to 44 months in prison.
She also was called to testify against Peiffer at his court-martial.
The information from the investigation has been shared with other law enforcement officials in the hope that the two dealers in Amsterdam who sold to Peiffer will also be apprehended, Sardelli said.