Drugs probe at US bases in Suffolk

TWELVE American servicemen based in Suffolk are being quizzed about the alleged possession and supply of cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana, it has emerged.

TWELVE American servicemen based in Suffolk are being quizzed about the alleged possession and supply of cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana, it has emerged.

The men are all based at RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall where military chiefs have launched a joint investigation.

Base chiefs last night described the allegations as “severe” and reiterated their tough stance on illegal substances.

Anyone found guilty of peddling Class A drugs faces up to 15 years in prison, it has been warned.

Airman 1st Class, Michael Hess, public relations officer for RAF Lakenheath, said: “In September, the command was notified that these individuals were under investigation for allegedly using and distributing marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy.

“They are still under investigation, but this is a very serious incident for the air force and any drug incident is taken very seriously because we hold our airmen to the highest standards.

Most Read

“If they are found guilty, they will be prosecuted under UK law and possibly the Uniformed Code of Military Justice.

“The highest penalty by us for using drugs is very serious at five years in prison and distribution can result in 15 years in prison.”

The ongoing probe, by the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations, centres around 11 men from Lakenheath and one airman from Mildenhall - all believed to be of junior ranks.

Two British civilians have also been questioned and their details passed to the authorities, Airman Hess said.

He added: “This is something USAF does not condone. Not a terrible amount of servicemen are aware of the investigation but I am sure there will be shock on the base when they hear the news.”

A spokesman for Suffolk police said they were unaware of the allegations and any military investigation would be handled internally.

In 2002, base chiefs launched a massive crackdown on drugs offences when 27 servicemen were investigated and at least 14 airmen - suspected of using, possessing and distributing controlled substances - were court martialled.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter