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Army Special Forces Soldier Indicted For Allegedly Trying To Smuggle 90 Pounds Of Cocaine Into US
An Army 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) soldier faces trial next month in U.S. District Court in Pensacola, Florida, on two counts of conspiring in the trafficking of cocaine.
Master Sgt. Daniel J. Gould was indicted last month by a federal grand jury. The indictment was sealed until Tuesday after Gould entered pleas of not guilty to the charges. His trial is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Nov. 13 in Pensacola, according to Amy Alexander, public information officer for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida.
Gould could face sentences ranging from 10 years to life on each charge, Alexander said.
Specifically, the first count of the indictment alleges that between Jan. 1 and Aug. 13 Gould "did knowingly and willfully combine, conspire, confederate and agree with other persons to distribute a controlled substance ... containing a detectable amount of cocaine, intending, knowing and having reasonable cause to believe that such a substance would be unlawfully imported into the United States ... ."
The second count mirrors the language of the first count, additionally alleging that Gould conspired "to distribute and possess with intent to distribute" a "substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine ... ."
The September indictment came a little more than a month after reports surfaced that Gould allegedly had attempted to smuggle cocaine into the United States from Colombia. Gould reportedly was arrested after two "heavy bags" filled with nearly 90 pounds of cocaine were intercepted at the U.S. Embassy in Colombia. The "heavy bags" — punching bags used by athletes — reportedly were bound for an aircraft heading to Eglin Air Force Base, headquarters of the 7th Group.
The bags were intercepted by another Special Forces soldier who was suspicious of its 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 punching bags. He already was back in the United States when the bags were intercepted.
Gould was contacted by U.S. law enforcement authorities after the discovery, but until Tuesday's release of the indictment and the report that Gould faces trial next month, military and civilian officials had not commented on the case in any detail.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency led the investigation into the alleged cocaine smuggling, with assistance from the Army's Criminal Investigation Division, Colombian authorities and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida.
A few weeks ago, Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, citing informed sources and their own investigative work, reported the DEA was "trying to reconstruct what ... Daniel James Gould did between August 4 and 12 in (the Colombian city of) Cali." El Tiempo also contended "the efforts of the DEA (were) focused on establishing who helped Gould get and move the (cocaine)."
According to a 2010 Army news release, Gould was awarded a Silver Star, the nation's third-highest military honor, for actions during the 7th Group's 2007-08 deployment to Afghanistan. The 7th Group moved from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Eglin Air Force Base in 2011.
©2018 the Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
At least 4 American veterans among group arrested in Haiti with arsenal of weapons and tactical gear
At least four American veterans were among a group of eight men arrested by police in Haiti earlier this week for driving without license plates and possessing an arsenal of weaponry and tactical gear.
Police in Port-au-Prince arrested five Americans, two Serbians, and one Haitian man at a police checkpoint on Sunday, according to The Miami-Herald. The men told police they were on a "government mission" but did not specify for which government, according to The Herald.
They also told police that "their boss was going to call their boss," implying that someone high in Haiti's government would vouch for them and secure their release, Herald reporter Jacqueline Charles told NPR.
What they were actually doing or who they were potentially working for remains unclear. A State Department spokesperson told Task & Purpose they were aware that Haitian police arrested a "group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens," but declined to answer whether the men were employed by or operating under contract with the U.S. government.
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A marble statue memorializing the founder of the U.S. Army Airborne was set on fire Thursday in North Carolina, and museum officials believe it happened because vandals confused it for a Confederate memorial, according to the Dunn Daily Record and other media outlets.
A top Senate Republican and fierce ally of President Donald Trump reportedly exploded at Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan recently about the U.S. military's plans to withdraw all troops from Syria by the end of April.
"That's the dumbest f******g idea I've ever heard," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reportedly replied when Shanahan confirmed the Trump administration still plans to complete the Syria withdrawal by April 30.
Later, Graham told Shanahan, "I am now your adversary, not your friend."
The White House will keep challenging the Pentagon on the threat of climate change until it gets an answer it likes
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