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US Navy probes drug ring, use of cocaine, ketamine, LSD at Naval Academy

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland

The US Navy have launched a probe into reports of an active drug ring within the US Naval Academy near Washington, involving nearly a dozen midshipmen, a senior official at the academy with knowledge of the investigation says.

Three midshipmen were allegedly involved in selling cocaine, ketamine (a powerful sedative) and LSD, purchased on the dark web using the digital currency Bitcoin, local media reports said Saturday citing three midshipmen currently enrolled at the military school located in Annapolis, Maryland on Chesapeake Bay. 

The dark web is the World Wide Web content that exists on darknets, overlay networks that use the Internet but require specific software, configurations or authorization to access.

However, naval investigators have formally released only general outlines of the alleged misconduct, without clarifying the type of illicit drugs involved and the number of midshipmen being investigated.

Naval Academy spokesman Cmdr. David McKinney said in a statement that the probe into alleged recreational drug use was launched nearly three months ago and includes the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

According to the reports, no formal charges have yet been brought against the midshipmen during the initial phase of the investigation, which began after a midshipman reported the drug dealing to authorities.

While midshipmen sources estimated the number of cadets under probe to be as high as roughly two-dozen, authorities at the academy -- which educates and trains young students to become officers in the Navy or Marine Corps -- offered a lower estimate.

The narcotics investigation, according to a Fox News report, is centered on the 23rd company and its roughly 150 midshipmen, citing several students who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Last week, the report added, drug-sniffing dogs from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) were brought in to search the rooms of the suspected drug users and discovered cocaine. 

The midshipman suspected of possessing the drug was at athletic practice at the time and tried to flee but was detained for questioning, according to two midshipmen with knowledge of the incident.

Fox News further stated that since formal charges have not been brought against any of the suspected midshipmen, it is withholding the names of those so far implicated, two of whom are enlisted midshipmen who had spent time in the fleet before gaining appointment to the Naval Academy.

One of the midshipmen tested positive on a drug test in early January after returning from Christmas break, adding more urgency to the criminal probe, according to one midshipman cited in the press reports.

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