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Green Beret Tied To International Cocaine Smuggling Ring Amid New Indictments
Two more people, including a Colombian citizen, have been indicted on charges related to an alleged cocaine smuggling scheme involving a 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) soldier who reportedly tried to get nearly 90 pounds of cocaine into the United States from Colombia.
Federal grand jury indictments handed down last week charge 24-year-old Colombian Gustavo A. Pareja and 35-year-old Henry W. Royer of North Carolina with conspiring to possess and distribute cocaine with "reasonable cause to believe that such a substance would be unlawfully imported into the United States from a place outside thereof."
Neither of the men are soldiers, according to Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, spokesman for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
The "superseding indictment" handed down Nov. 27 also names Master Sgt. Daniel J. Gould, a 7th Group soldier. Gould was indicted alone in October on charges of conspiring to traffic cocaine.
Gould had originally been scheduled to go to trial in November, but an October order from Senior U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson moved the trial to January. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Jan. 7.
According to court records, Gould's initial appearance on the charges, during which he was expected to enter a "not guilty" plea, was scheduled for Tuesday in federal district court in Pensacola.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has led the investigation into the alleged cocaine smuggling with help from the Army's Criminal Investigation Division, Colombian authorities and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida.
Anne-Judith Lambert, spokeswoman for the DEA's Miami office, said the agency would not comment on what she characterized as an ongoing case. Lambert said Tuesday that she was not aware of the additional indictments.
Like Lambert, authorities have been tight-lipped as the investigation has proceeded and indictments have been handed down. However, some details of the alleged smuggling have emerged since reports began to surface in August.
Gould reportedly was detained by U.S. authorities Aug. 13, after two "heavy bags" filled with nearly 90 pounds of cocaine were intercepted at the U.S. Embassy in Colombia. The "heavy bags" — cylindrical punching bags used by athletes — reportedly were bound for an aircraft heading to Eglin Air Force Base, headquarters for the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne).
The bags were intercepted by another Special Forces soldier who reportedly became suspicious about their contents. The cocaine was discovered after the bags were X-rayed by Colombian officials.
Colombia is part of the 7th Group's area of responsibility, but Gould had been on vacation — not on military duty — before the discovery of the bags. He already was back in the United States when the bags were intercepted.
Gould, Royer and Pareja could face sentences ranging from10 years to life in prison on each of the two charges.
©2018 The Walton Sun (Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
The Marine lieutenant colonel who was removed from command of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May is accused of lying to investigators looking into allegations of misconduct, according to a copy of his charge sheet provided to Task & Purpose on Monday.
President Donald Trump just can't stop telling stories about former Defense Secretary James Mattis. This time, the president claims Mattis said U.S. troops were so perilously low on ammunition that it would be better to hold off launching a military operation.
"You know, when I came here, three years ago almost, Gen. Mattis told me, 'Sir, we're very low on ammunition,'" Trump recalled on Monday at the White House. "I said, 'That's a horrible thing to say.' I'm not blaming him. I'm not blaming anybody. But that's what he told me because we were in a position with a certain country, I won't say which one; we may have had conflict. And he said to me: 'Sir, if you could, delay it because we're very low on ammunition.'
"And I said: You know what, general, I never want to hear that again from another general," Trump continued. "No president should ever, ever hear that statement: 'We're low on ammunition.'"
This 400-pound feral hog is one of more than 1,200 that have invaded a Texas Air Force base since 2016
At least one Air Force base is waging a slow battle against feral hogs — and way, way more than 30-50 of them.
A Texas trapper announced on Monday that his company had removed roughly 1,200 feral hogs from Joint Base San Antonio property at the behest of the service since 2016.
In a move that could see President Donald Trump set foot on North Korean soil again, Kim Jong Un has invited the U.S. leader to Pyongyang, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday, as the North's Foreign Ministry said it expected stalled nuclear talks to resume "in a few weeks."
A letter from Kim, the second Trump received from the North Korean leader last month, was passed to the U.S. president during the third week of August and came ahead of the North's launch of short-range projectiles on Sept. 10, the South's Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple people familiar with the matter.
In the letter, Kim expressed his willingness to meet the U.S. leader for another summit — a stance that echoed Trump's own remarks just days earlier.
Constant deployments broke the Air Force's B-1 fleet. Now the service is facing a major bomber shortfall
On April 14, 2018, two B-1B Lancer bombers fired off payloads of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles against weapons storage plants in western Syria, part of a shock-and-awe response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons against his citizens that also included strikes from Navy destroyers and submarines.
In all, the two bombers fired 19 JASSMs, successfully eliminating their targets. But the moment would ultimately be one of the last — and certainly most publicized — strategic strikes for the aircraft before operations began to wind down for the entire fleet.
A few months after the Syria strike, Air Force Global Strike Command commander Gen. Tim Ray called the bombers back home. Ray had crunched the data, and determined the non-nuclear B-1 was pushing its capabilities limit. Between 2006 and 2016, the B-1 was the sole bomber tasked continuously in the Middle East. The assignment was spread over three Lancer squadrons that spent one year at home, then six month deployed — back and forth for a decade.
The constant deployments broke the B-1 fleet. It's no longer a question of if, but when the Air Force and Congress will send the aircraft to the Boneyard. But Air Force officials are still arguing the B-1 has value to offer, especially since it's all the service really has until newer bombers hit the flight line in the mid-2020s.