7 Marines booted from service amid drug crackdown at Camp Lejeune

This is your Marine brain on drugs.

Seven members of the 2nd Marine Division forgot to just say no to drugs, and it has now cost them their careers.

Five lance corporals, one corporal, and a sergeant were all convicted of drug-related offenses during separate court-martials in November, according to Marine records.

News of the convictions came less than two months after top officials in the division announced a crackdown on drug use and started randomly screening Marines for LSD after several “recent incidents.”

“We have a drug problem in the 2nd Marine Division,” said commanding general Maj. Gen. Francis L. Donovan. “We are changing the way in which we test for illegal substances.”

All seven Marines convicted at court-martial received bad conduct discharges, meaning they’ll be kicked out of the Corps after they serve their time in prison and will not be eligible for federal veterans benefits.

Though the announcement in November prioritized LSD, it remains unclear what drugs these Marines were using or distributing. Marine officials declined to provide copies of their charge sheets or conviction reports. Task & Purpose subsequently filed a public records request.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Lance Cpl. Sunder Pels, an anti-tank missileman with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, was convicted at a special court-martial on Nov. 3 of violating lawful general orders and distributing a controlled substance. He was sentenced to four months in prison, demoted to private, and given a bad-conduct discharge.
  • Lance Cpl. Thomas M. Miller, a rifleman with 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, was convicted at a general court-martial on Nov. 4 of distribution and possession of a controlled substance. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail, demoted to private, and given a bad-conduct discharge.
  • Lance Cpl. Landon Pollard, a machine gunner with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was convicted at a general court-martial on Nov. 5 of failure to obey lawful orders, making false official statements, use and possession of a controlled substance, domestic violence, and obstruction of justice. He was sentenced to 20 months in prison, demoted to private, and given a bad-conduct discharge.
  • Lance Cpl. Nicholas Krems, an assault amphibious vehicle crewman with 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, was convicted at a special court-martial on Nov. 5 of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. He was sentenced to 9 months in prison, demoted to private, and given a bad-conduct discharge.
  • Sgt. Quinten Emery, a supply specialist with 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, was convicted at a special court-martial on Nov. 9 of wrongful use or possession of a false military pass with intent to deceive, possession of a controlled substance, and use of a controlled substance. He was sentenced to six months in prison, demoted to private, and given a bad-conduct discharge.
  • Lance Cpl. Rodney Scott Jr., an anti-tank missileman with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, was convicted at a special court-martial on Nov. 10 of distributing a controlled substance. He was sentenced to nine months in prison, demoted to private, and given a bad-conduct discharge.
  • Cpl. David A. Williams, an anti-tank missileman with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, was convicted at a special court-martial on Nov. 17 of possession of a controlled substance, obstructing justice, receiving or concealing stolen property of a value no more than $1,000, and conspiracy. He was sentenced to two months in prison, demoted to private, and given a bad-conduct discharge.
Paul Szoldra

Paul Szoldrais the Editor in Chief of Task & Purpose and a Marine Corps veteran. Reach out via email or find him on Twitter at @paulszoldra. Contact the author here.

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