A Navy sailor who works at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va. is under investigation for a "suspicious" fire that destroyed up to 900 urinalysis samples and records, The Virginian-Pilot reports.
Investigators say a large metal cage locker that housed the samples was "intentionally" set on fire with gasoline on May 1, the same day the sailor's unit initiated a full drug test for its members, according to an affidavit filed Aug. 15.
Investigators obtained a search warrant for the sailor's cell phone records, according to Associated Press. Here's more from The Pilot:
An investigation revealed that the sailor spent $5.23 for gasoline at a Norfolk 7-Eleven around 4:45 p.m. May 1, and his vehicle was captured on an Oceana gate surveillance camera entering the base at 7:30 p.m., according to court documents. The vehicle left at 8:56 p.m – nine minutes after a fire alarm was received.
The sailor was scheduled to be on leave from 3:30 p.m. that day through May 5, but told a co-worker he forgot something in his locker and returned to get it around 6 p.m. When the urinalysis was announced, the sailor added a day to his leave and did not return to work until May 8.
Witnesses also told NCIS a duty stander was the last person to lock up and leave the workspace that day at 3:30 p.m.
A Naval Criminal Investigative Service spokesman told the AP no one has yet been charged in the case.
An aerial view of the Pentagon building in Washington, June 15, 2005. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld defended the Guantanamo prison against critics who want it closed by saying U.S. taxpayers have a big financial stake in it and no other facility could replace it at a Pentagon briefing on Tuesday. (Reuters/Jason Reed JIR/CN)
The Pentagon is sending nearly 1,000 more troops to the Middle East as part of an escalating crisis with Iran that defense officials are struggling to explain.
The Marine lieutenant colonel removed from command of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May was ousted over alleged "misconduct" but has not been charged with a crime, Task & Purpose has learned.
Lt. Col. Francisco Zavala, 42, who was removed from his post by the commanding general of 1st Marine Division on May 7, has since been reassigned to the command element of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and a decision on whether he will be charged is "still pending," MEF spokeswoman 1st Lt. Virginia Burger told Task & Purpose last week.
"We are not aware of any ongoing or additional investigations of Lt. Col. Zavala at this time," MEF spokesman 2nd Lt. Brian Tuthill told Task & Purpose on Monday. "The command investigation was closed May 14 and the alleged misconduct concerns Articles 128 and 133 of the UCMJ," Tuthill added, mentioning offenses under military law that deal with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.
"There is a period of due process afforded the accused and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty," he said.
When asked for an explanation for the delay, MEF officials directed Task & Purpose to contact 1st Marine Division officials, who did not respond before deadline.
The investigation of Zavala, completed on May 3 and released to Task & Purpose in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that he had allegedly acted inappropriately. The report also confirmed some details of his wife's account of alleged domestic violence that Task & Purpose first reported last month.