Naval Academy charges midshipman in drug investigation
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The U.S. Naval Academy announced Tuesday it is bringing charges against a midshipman who allegedly distributed illegal drugs, including cocaine.
The charges include failure to obey a general regulation, making a false official statement and possession of illegal substances, said Cmdr. David McKinney, an academy spokesman. The charges also include possession of illegal substances with intent to distribute, use of illegal substances and distribution of illegal substances.
An Article 32 hearing, which is similar to a civilian grand jury proceeding, has been scheduled for Wednesday before a military court at the Washington Navy Yard to help determine whether the case should proceed to a court-martial, McKinney said.
The charges are based on an investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service that began in November. The results were sent to Vice Adm. Ted Carter, the academy’s superintendent, who decided to recommend the charges against the accused, who was not named in a news release from the academy.
Some of the charges related to an arrest by the Dover, Delaware, Police Department for selling and possessing controlled substances, McKinney said.
Dover police said the arrest happened June 15 at the Dover International Speedway during the Firefly Music Festival. Police identified him as Zachary Williams, of Canal Fulton, Ohio. Williams was arrested with another man from Ohio, Edward Hartmann, after they allegedly sold ecstasy to undercover officers in a festival camping parking lot. Officers searched their vehicles and found 33 grams of ecstasy, 4.6 grams of cocaine, 1.1 grams of marijuana and a digital scale, according to a police report.
They were released on $142,000 bail, and charges included possession with intent to deliver cocaine, second-degree conspiracy and possession of marijuana. It is unclear whether either has an attorney.
As a result of the Navy investigation, six midshipmen have been kicked out of the academy for using illegal substances, McKinney said. Another five midshipmen were administratively disciplined for drug-related violations. The illicit drugs involved were cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine and hallucinogenic mushrooms.
“The United States Navy and the Naval Academy both have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to the use of illegal substances and take all allegations of misconduct seriously,” McKinney said.
When Carter updated the academy’s Board of Visitors about the investigation in April, he said midshipmen brought the drug use to the attention of school officials. He also told the board that the academy conducted a full review and made changes to urinalysis drug testing at the academy. He said every midshipman will be tested at least three times a year at times unknown to students.
Between December 2010 and August 2011, the academy expelled 16 students for use or possession of synthetic marijuana known as “spice.”