MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
Nine current and former civilian employees here were listed on an Aug. 10 indictment that read: “The grand jury charges that defendants herein, did unlawfully and willfully conspire with each other and with other persons, known and unknown to the grand jury, to knowingly, unlawfully and intentionally possess with intent to distribute a Schedule III controlled substance, to-wit: hydrocodone, also known as Vocodin, Loretab, Lorcet; and a Schedule II controlled substance, to-wit: cocaine, a mixture containing a detectable amount of cocaine base, also known as crack cocaine, in an amount over 280 grams in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846 in connection with Title 21, Unites State Code.”
No uniformed service members were named in the indictment.
Authorities confirmed six current civilian employees were among the nine who were indicted.
Four of the current employees were working on the installation when they were arrested. The other two current employees surrendered themselves to authorities off of the installation that day.
The other three in the indictment were former civilian employees or contractors.
One of the three former employees was arrested at his local residence Aug. 24, one surrendered himself to authorities on Aug. 25, and one initially evaded capture.
All seven individuals taken into custody Aug. 24 who appeared before a U.S. federal magistrate judge for their initial appearances that day were released on secured and unsecured bonds. The one former employee who turned himself in the following day appeared before the U.S. federal magistrate judge for his initial appearance Aug. 25, and was released on an unsecured bond.
“These are just a few bad apples,” Michael Moore, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, said during a press conference at the Marine base at 11:30 a.m. the same day of the arrests. “My job is to pick those bad apples.”
Moore’s office is scheduled to prosecute the case.
Base officials and investigators stated this is not indicative of a larger problem, and stressed the installation employs more than 5,000 outstanding, law-abiding, civilian employees.
Officials at MCLB Albany further emphasized the use, distribution or even possession of illegal drugs is counter to the core values of the U.S. Marine Corps and warned that anyone who engages in illegal drug activity aboard the installation will be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“It is important to reiterate the Marine Corps has a zero tolerance policy on illegal drug activity, and that includes anyone and everyone who comes aboard the installation,” Col. Terry V. Williams, base commanding officer, said.
“It is detrimental to the good order and discipline of the installation, it is counterproductive to our mission to support the warfighter and it degrades our effectiveness - especially where their work has a direct impact on Marines in harm’s way in Afghanistan or other locations around the world,” he added.
Among the numerous agencies that participated in the yearlong investigation and arrests were: the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (lead agency); the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Middle District Georgia; the U.S. Marshals Service; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Georgia Bureau of Investigation; the Dougherty County District Attorney’s Office; the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit; the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and MCLB Albany’s Criminal Investigative Division and Marine Corps Police Department.
“This is an indication that when agencies work together, great things can happen,” Moore said.
The base commanding officer noted employees at the installation have a principal mission to protect the national defense.
“Accomplishment of this mission requires the highest standards of employee competence, reliability and integrity. Illegal use or possession of drugs by employees, on or off duty, is unacceptable and inconsistent with accomplishing all of our missions,” Williams said.
One of the defendants remained at large for a day and a half; however, all nine defendants have reportedly appeared before the U.S. Federal Magistrate Judge at this time.
“Let this be a warning to others who decide they want to involve themselves in illegal drug activity aboard this installation,” Williams stressed. “We will catch you, and you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”