ATLANTA (AP) - Four soldiers stationed at a mountain training facility in Dahlonega have been charged with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine.
U.S. Attorney David E. Nahmias said identified those charged as active-duty Army Rangers 30-year-old Carlos Lopez 28-year-old David Ray White and 32-year-old Randy Spivey, and 28-year-old Stefan Andre Champagne, an Army medic.
They also are charged with using firearms in connection with a conspiracy.
In an affidavit unsealed today, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms special agent said the soldiers were targeted in an undercover operation after the ATF learned there were soldiers who wanted to rob drug traffickers.
All four, stationed at Camp Frank D. Merrill near Dahlonega, were arrested Thursday and Friday without incident.
Nahmias said, "It is a sad day when members of one of America's most elite corps of soldiers, the Army Rangers, are alleged to have become involved in criminal activity.
These men were trained to defend the people and principles of this country, not to use their skills to steal cocaine from drug dealers at gunpoint."
Lopez, White and Champagne made their initial appearance before a U.S. magistrate today, and will remain in custody pending a bond hearing next Wednesday at 3 p.m.
The defendants are charged in a complaint alleging violations of federal drug and gun laws. These charges carry a minimum mandatory sentence of ten years in prison for the drug conspiracy and an additional five years, consecutive, for the weapons allegation.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)