Previously, former West Point cadet Chris Monge was expelled from school and sentenced to military jail in 2017 for distributing and using cocaine, Xanax, and opiates while a student at the nation’s premier military institution.
Army prosecutors at the United States Military Academy in Orange County, New York, described him as a narcotics “kingpin.”
Monge, now 27 years old, was so addicted to opiates that he continued to use even after he was forced to return to campus in shame to meet with his counsel and prepare for his court martial.
Over the course of three days, he travelled more than two and a half hours — twice — back to his hometown of Allentown, Pennsylvania, in order to complete the procedure.
“I was on a high the day of the hearing,” Monge said to The Washington Post. “I entered a guilty plea to all counts and was sentenced to thirty months in Fort Leavenworth prison. “I served fifteen months and was released on parole after ten months.”
During a spring break trip to Wilton Manors, Florida, on March 11, a group of cadets inhaled cocaine that contained fentanyl. He hopes that West Point would be more understanding of their situation.
They had been drinking and partying in an Airbnb home just north of Fort Lauderdale, according to neighbours. The five New York Cadets were all in their early 20s and at least one was a football player. All except one of the patients have been discharged from the hospital.
One of the overdose victims, a former Air Force cadet who attended the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said he wasn’t surprised to learn that at least one football player was among those who died.
“Cocaine was really prevalent among the football team,” he admitted to The Washington Post in an interview. “They’d wait till a long weekend to do it since it’s so rapid to exit your system.” Weed may survive for a lengthy period of time. At the academy, we were subjected to a random testing procedure.”
According to drug specialists, cocaine or its metabolites can often be detected in a blood or saliva test for up to 2 days, a urine test for up to 3 days, and a hair test for months or even years after the drug was consumed.
The cadets have not yet been recognised by police, and West Point did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Although it is not immediately obvious what disciplinary penalties the cadets would face, it is possible that they will be expelled for using illegal drugs.
When three Air Force Academy cadets were detected using drugs during a random drug test in 2001, the academy disciplined them. Two cadets were court-martialed and sentenced to prison, a third resigned under duress, and nine cadets were placed on probation just for being aware of the drug use but failing to inform the appropriate authorities.
Monge’s arrest in 2017 was followed by the arrests of five additional cadets, one of whom was a defensive back for West Point’s storied football team, the Army Black Nights. Jared Rogers was not charged with drug distribution, but he was found to be addicted to pain relievers. His offence consisted in enabling a fellow cadet to use his automobile to transport drugs to and from the university.
Both Monge and Tevin Long, another West Point football player, were found guilty and sentenced to court martial. Rogers avoided criminal prosecution, but he was discharged with a dishonourable record.
The Honorable Greg T. Rinckey, an attorney who specialises in military law and a former JAG (Army Judge Advocate General), has both prosecuted and represented soldiers, including West Point students, on charges ranging from cocaine possession to murder, among other matters.
He stated that the cadets will likely be “dis-enrolled” from the academy, which is West Point jargon for “expelled,” according to Rinckey.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Rinckey stated that “it will rely on what defence counsel will spin.” Fentanyl had been hidden in the brownies! ‘They were completely unaware!’ Alternatively, ‘They believed they were smoking marijuana, but the joint contained fentanyl.’ However, if there are witnesses who claim to have witnessed [the cadets] purchasing and eating cocaine, then is a different storey.”
According to the UCMJ, or Uniform Code of Military Justice, West Point cadets are theoretically considered active-duty Army cadets and are therefore liable to being charged with a crime. They could also be subjected to a separate administrative procedure.
Read More: Virgil Abloh Death: Designer Died At 41 Age!
The Army’s Criminal Investigative Division (CID) will evaluate the matter and give a report to the Superintendent of West Point, Lt. General Darryl A. Williams, who will likely make a final decision on how to proceed in consultation with an Army lawyer, or Judge Advocate, Rinckey explained.
If they are expelled, they will also be required to pay back tuition. If students graduate and complete five years of military duty, they are typically not required to pay for their education.
In the words of Rinckey, “Uncle Sam is going to want his money back.”
Monge is well-aware of the situation. After being expelled from West Point, he was informed that he owed $170,000 in tuition money, a sum that has now ballooned to more than $200,000 with the addition of interest. It was recently brought to his attention that the corporation had requested $5,000 each month in payment toward his bill, which he claimed was unachievable given his meagre earnings as a sales representative for a trucking company.
He hopes that the cadets who overdosed do not meet the same end.
West Point may handle substance misuse more like alcohol abuse and consider in terms of rehabilitation rather than simply slamming the book at the students, according to Monge, who spoke to The Washington Post about the issue.
According to Monge, “At the end of the day, it’s just another college — but students at other colleges have a lot more leeway to test the waters and make mistakes in judgement.” “It’s just that West Point is such a prominent university, and so holds itself to a higher standard.” How many students do you believe are involved with hard drugs at Penn State, according to your estimation? Plenty.”
The Post was able to secure a copy of a letter from Lt. General Williams regarding the cadet overdoses in Florida, which was sent to the school and its alumni on March 14 by the general.
The letter opened with the words “Members of the Long Gray Line.” “As many of you are aware, the United States Military Academy has been dealing with the aftermath of a significant incident involving numerous Cadets.” My first and foremost concern and priority is the health and safety of all of our Cadets. I respectfully request that you refrain from speculating or making any comments on the specifics of any pending investigation.
“We will continue to assist any current investigations, and if they are concluded, we will take appropriate action to safeguard the health and safety of our Cadets as well as the maintenance of good order and discipline within the Corps. ” America looks to the Academy to cultivate leaders who exemplify the greatest level of moral character and integrity. In our organisation, character development is the most crucial thing we do in terms of production. Our ability to maintain good order and discipline is critical to our success. Because of this, illegal substances of any form have no place at West Point, in our Army, or in our Armed Forces.
For decades, according to Lucian Truscott IV, a 1969 graduate and West Point alumnus who wrote the 1978 classic “Dress Gray,” drinking and drug misuse have been endemic in the Army — and at West Point — as a result of the Vietnam War.