US Navy Sailors In Japan Under Investigation For Alleged Drug Use, Distribution

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US Navy Sailors In Japan Under Investigation For Alleged Drug Use, Distribution

By Beth Leipholtz 02/13/18

LSD and ecstasy were reportedly among the drugs being used and distributed.

Image: 
US Navy personnel

A number of U.S. Navy sailors based in Japan are under investigation for alleged drug use and distribution, according to CNN

According to CNN, a spokesman for the U.S. Seventh Fleet confirmed the investigation, which is being conducted by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). 

Initial reports of the investigation came from the Wall Street Journal on Friday, Feb. 9. The publication claimed that the drugs involved included LSD and ecstasy, in addition to others, and that there were at least 12 U.S. Navy personnel involved. 

The Wall Street Journal states that a number of those under investigation were serving on the USS Ronald Reagan, an aircraft carrier, as well as on shore in Japan. Because there is suspicion that drugs were sold to residents in Japan, the Wall Street Journal claims that Japanese authorities are also taking part in the investigation. 

According to the Japan Times, the allegations were brought to the attention of the Navy on Tuesday, Feb. 6, after a tip that a petty officer third class was using drugs. The sailor in question then pointed investigators to others who he claimed were distributing or using drugs.  

The investigation was confirmed by Commander Clay Doss, who is the public affairs officer for the Seventh Fleet. 

"The Navy has zero tolerance for drug abuse and takes all allegations involving misconduct of our sailors, Navy civilians and family members very seriously," he told CNN via email. "These allegations are still under investigation and it would be inappropriate to comment further."

According to CNN, the USS Ronald Reagan is the only one of the U.S. Navy’s 11 aircraft carriers that is stationed outside the country. CNN also states it is “arguably the Navy's most important asset in the Pacific amidst ongoing challenges from North Korea and elsewhere.”

This isn’t the first issue the Seventh Fleet has faced in recent years. Last year, CNN states, two of its guided-missile destroyers were involved in fatal collisions with cargo vessels. Poor morale aboard ships and a corruption scandal were also cited as recent issues. 

The investigation comes as some restructuring is taking place in the Pacific Fleet, of which the Seventh Fleet is a subordinate.

CNN states that the Defense Department recently announced that President Donald Trump has nominated Vice Adm. John Aquilino as commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Hawaii. He will replace Adm. Scott Swift, who has held the position since May 2015. 

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