Two former Army Special Forces soldiers caught up in a cocaine trafficking scheme were each handed nine years in federal prison on Tuesday.
Former Master Sgt. Daniel Gould of 7th Special Forces Group and former Sgt. 1st Class Henry Royer of the West Virginia National Guard originally pleaded not guilty, they eventually reversed their pleas, according to the Department of Justice. Royer was previously with the 19th Special Forces Group, Army Times reports.
Gould and Royer were first charged in August 2018 after attempting to bring in almost 90 pounds of cocaine from Colombia on a military aircraft.
Before the cocaine was discovered in August, 20 pounds of it was successfully smuggled by Gould and Royer from Colombia to an airfield at Eglin Air Force Base, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports, before being later distributed in northwest Florida. Taking the money from that load, the two invested in 40 kilos — almost $1 million worth — of cocaine, attempting to bring it back into the U.S. through gutted punching bags.
Gould lost his Special Forces certification and was separated from the Army in December 2018, Army Times reports, the same month Hoyer was also separated from the Army.
Gustavo A. Pareja, 25, of Colombia, is awaiting extradition to the United States to stand trial on charges related to the case, according to DoJ.