Recent drug courts-martial at Ramstein

Staff Sgt. Tim WesterlundRamstein Area Defense Council

On Jan. 15, special agents from Spangdahlem’s Air Force Office of Special Investigations participated in a joint AFOSI/Mobile Kontrollgruppe Bitburg contraband/drug interdiction inspection at a checkpoint near the Belgium border. 

Two vehicles, containing six active-duty Ramstein-based Airmen, approached the checkpoint. They were returning from a weekend trip to Amsterdam. 

All six were field-tested by German authorities with special drug testing swabs. Initial results for all individuals were positive for illegal substances.
A few days later, and after further interviews and more investigation, it was determined that only four of the six individuals had in fact used anything – psilocybin mushrooms, an illegal substance and punishable under Article 112a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. 

Two of the four individuals were recently tried in Special courts-martial. On April 24, a senior airman pleaded guilty to using the mushrooms and was sentenced by a military judge to 15 days confinement and a reduction to E-2. On April 25, an Airman pleaded guilty to using the mushrooms and was sentenced by a military judge to seven days confinement.

The maximum sentence each could have received at their respective courts-martial was a bad conduct discharge, confinement for 12 months, reduction to E-1, and forfeiture of 2/3 pay per month for 12 months. The two adjudged sentences show that the Area Defense Council works for Airmen. The sentences also prove that every case is different, and that the facts are what matters the most. 

If an active-duty member is facing trial by court-martial, that individual has the right to choose whether or not he/she pleads guilty or not guilty to the offenses.

Everyone facing trial by court-martial has the legal and moral right to plead not guilty and require the prosecution to prove each and every element of the charge.

Everyone also has the right to determine the choice of forum: military judge alone or a “jury” of all officer members, or if enlisted, a jury consisting of officers and one-third enlisted. 

Additionally, every servicemember has the right to counsel. ADCs are detailed to each case.

ADCs are licensed attorneys and have all been prior prosecutors. ADCs represent active-duty members free of charge.

If you need defense legal services, call the Ramstein ADC
office at 480-2182.