A Special Forces soldier stands accused of a significant drug charge using military transportation.
Defense officials said Army Master Sgt. Daniel Gould of the 7th Special Forces Group was arrested after Drug Enforcement Administration agents discovered him attempting to smuggle almost 90 pounds of cocaine from Colombia in two backpacks, NBC News reported Friday.
While the U.S. military plane was on the ground in Colombia, another military personnel discovered the drugs on board and reported the findings.
A decorated Special Forces soldier was arrested for attempting to smuggle nearly 90 pounds of cocaine from Colombia into the U.S. on a military airplane, according to two defense officials. https://t.co/WCnREIjylq
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 18, 2018
Gould was reportedly on vacation in Colombia the week prior, but had returned home to the U.S. when the drug-filled backpacks were moved onto the airplane and later discovered. Another military member was used to move the bags onto the plane, but officials could not yet determine if that person was complicit in the smuggling.
The plane was preparing to depart for Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
Lt. Col. Robert Bockholt, spokesman for the Army Special Operations Command said: “We are aware of recent allegations concerning a U.S. soldier assigned under U.S. Army Special Operations Command for reportedly attempting to smuggle narcotics from Colombia into the U.S.”
“We are cooperating fully with law enforcement officials concerning this matter. In order to protect the integrity of the investigation and the rights of the individual, there is no additional information available for release at this time,” Bockholt added.
Gould is a Silver Star recipient – the third highest military award in the U.S.—for actions carried out during his deployment with the 7th Group to Afghanistan, Northwest Florida Daily News reported.
Special Forces soldier tried to smuggle 40 kilos of cocaine to US from Colombia, report says https://t.co/cGnaxHxKO3
— Columbus Dispatch (@DispatchAlerts) August 20, 2018
Neither Gould nor the DEA responded for comment on the incident.
Soldiers involved in the trafficking of drugs isn’t a new phenomenon. In the 1970s, two Army NCOs were caught in a hefty heroin smuggling operation while in Vietnam, Business Insider reported. It was considered “the largest heroin smuggling operation in American history.”
Just last year, two soldiers based out of Camp Humphreys were arrested for smuggling 9 pounds of methamphetamine concealed in cereal boxes that were mailed from California to an Army post office address in South Korea, Stars and Stripes reported.
The drugs had a reported street value of $12 million and was enough for use by 130,000 people. Senior prosecutor Kang Susanna called it “the largest amount of drugs found coming through the APO.”
In 2005, another military member was sentenced to six years in prison for smuggling cocaine from Colombia into the U.S. using a military aircraft, ABC News reported. Gould could potentially face similar charges if convicted.