U.S. Army Cadet Prosecuted at Trial by General Court-Martial in the United States Military Academy (USMA), West Point, NY with Violating a Lawful General Order; Possession of Analogue Schedule I Controlled Substance; Possession with Intent to Distribute an Analogue Schedule I Controlled Substance.
A U.S. Army Cadet attending the United States Military Academy (USMA) was charged for drug-related offense for his conduct of using, possessing and distributing drugs both on and off campus at West Point. The Cadet’s conduct came to the attention of military authorities when his roommate, who was using these drugs, overdosed by falling unconscious, falling to the ground and striking his head. The Cadet observed this occurrence and called 911 for emergency medical assistance. This event trigged an investigation by U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Division (CID) who searched the cadets’ room and located evidence of the drugs and drug use. During the investigation, the Cadet confessed to his conduct of using the dark web to order the drugs by mail, initially from places in the United States and eventually from places outside the country, such as China. The Cadet began using the drugs, analogues to controlled substances, as a study aide. He also shared them with his roommate and other friends. He claimed they developed an addiction to the substances. To reduce the cost, the Cadet began ordering bulk and to assist with financing the habit, was selling and distributing the drugs on and off campus. He was eventually charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice with various offenses, which were referred for trial by General Court-Martial. The Cadet and his family retained Civilian Defense Attorney, John L. Calcagni III, to defend him in this matter.
Dismissal. Attorney Calcagni negotiated a plea agreement that called for the Cadet’s admission of guilt to Violating a Lawful General Regulation (Army Substance Abuse Program) in violation of Article 92, UCMJ and for wrongfully possessing with intent to distribute and distributing controlled substance analogues in violation of Article 134, UCMJ. After a preliminary inquiry, a military judge accepted the Cadet’s pleas, thereby adjudging him guilty. He then made an unsworn statement with Attorney Calcagni’s assistance. Attorney Calcagni also submitted a packet of extenuating information on the Cadet’s behalf to include photos, academic transcripts, resume, professional certifications, statements of support, evidence of mental health and substance abuse counseling, and more. Attorney Calcagni also made a very persuasive sentencing argument on the Cadet’s behalf, emphasizing his self-rehabilitation, cooperation with authorities, sincere regret, and the impact of a felony conviction and involuntary removal from USMA will have on the young man’s career. Based on these efforts, the military judge rejected the government jail recommendation and sentenced the Cadet solely to be dismissed from military service.