A fourth sailor implicated in a drug ring aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, shown here in the South China Sea on Aug. 31, 2018, pleaded guilty to related charges on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.

A fourth sailor implicated in a drug ring aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, shown here in the South China Sea on Aug. 31, 2018, pleaded guilty to related charges on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (Kaila V. Peters/U.S. Navy)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A fourth USS Ronald Reagan sailor on Thursday pleaded guilty to charges related to a drug operation that involved 15 7th Fleet sailors.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean Gevero, a nuclear electrician’s mate, was found guilty of wrongful use or possession of controlled substances after admitting to possessing LSD with intent to distribute in August 2017 and illegally possessing steroids on Feb. 9, 2018, according to a pre-trial agreement.

A military judge sentenced Gevero to 90 days in confinement, followed by a bad conduct discharge, according to Naval Forces Japan spokesman Marshall Smith. His rate was also reduced to E-1.

Gevero’s is the latest in a string of courts-martial related to the case. On Jan. 14, Petty Officer 3rd Class Philip Colegrove, also a nuclear electrician’s mate, was sentenced to 10 months in jail, a bad conduct discharge and reduction in rate to E-1 after pleading guilty to selling drugs from the Ronald Reagan.

Colegrove admitted he sold LSD and methylenedioxymethamphetamine — also known as MDMA or ecstasy — onboard the Ronald Reagan several times from January 2017 to February 2018. He also pleaded guilty to bringing LSD “onto a vessel used by the armed forces” with intent to distribute, according to his pre-trial agreement.

In December, Petty Officer 2nd Class Ethan D. Strandberg and Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew W. Miller, both nuclear machinist mates, were reduced in rank to E-1 and discharged from the Navy for bad conduct in exchange for pleading guilty to drug distribution charges.

Strandberg admitted to conspiring to distribute MDMA onboard the aircraft carrier between January 2017 and February 2018. Miller admitted to distributing LSD near Yokosuka during the same period.

Strandberg was sentenced to 60 days and Miller received 30 days in confinement.

A fifth, unnamed defendant in the case is awaiting an Article 32 preliminary hearing, Smith said. Article 32 hearings, the military equivalent of a grand jury, are used to determine if there is enough evidence to justify a trial.

As part of their pre-trial agreements, Gevero, Colegrove, Strandberg and Miller agreed to testify against others involved in the case if called upon.

Ten other Reagan sailors received nonjudicial punishments in connection with the case, 7th Fleet spokesman Lt. Joe Keiley said in November. Further information about those disciplinary actions was not publicly released, per Navy policy on administrative issues.

Fourteen of the 15 implicated sailors were assigned to the Ronald Reagan’s nuclear reactor department, Keiley said in June. Those suspected of involvement were removed from those duties as the investigation got underway. Twitter: @CaitlinDoornbos

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Caitlin Doornbos covers the Pentagon for Stars and Stripes after covering the Navy’s 7th Fleet as Stripes’ Indo-Pacific correspondent at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. Previously, she worked as a crime reporter in Lawrence, Kan., and Orlando, Fla., where she was part of the Orlando Sentinel team that placed as finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. Caitlin has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Kansas and master’s degree in defense and strategic studies from the University of Texas at El Paso.

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