Fort Bragg sees 100% increase in drug crime when it is installed

FORT BRAGG, NC (WTVD) – They’re the ones we trust to protect our freedom, but for now, Fort Bragg’s top brass are concerned about protecting theirs from drugs.

It is the home of the XVIII Airborne Corps with around 60,000 soldiers working on the installation; many come and go, as well as civilians, and accompanying them in recent months are illegal drugs.

“The biggest drug is marijuana, it’s the most common drug, but we’ve also seen cocaine and, to a lesser extent, other drugs such as fentanyl,” said MAJ Travis Hallman, an action officer from the Office of the Provost Marshal, part of the Fort Bragg Drug Enforcement Initiative.

Hallman compiles the data into a weekly brief to the Deputy Commanding General and by August that brief started to turn heads.

“Over the past fiscal year, we have observed a more than 100% increase in drug-related crime at the facility,” Hallman said.

The drug problem, which Hallman says eased at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown, has doubled in the past year amid an easing of restrictions, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

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Soldiers and civilians were arrested at the entrance gates to Fort. Bragg with narcotics or drug-related items in their vehicles while some members of the service were caught trying to distribute drugs through the mail, Hallman said.

“They want to make some extra money or they just want it for the thrill or maybe a combination of the two,” he said. “They will work with civilian dealers outside of the facility, they will get a large quantity of it, bring it in the mail and then they will distribute it to their friends or sell it.”

A mother of a Fort Bragg soldier who did not want to be identified contacted ABC11 after hearing about the increase in drug use from her son and other relatives.

“I want to see how these drugs get to the base,” she said. “How does the cocaine associated with fentanyl get to the base?” And why is it not treated? “

“If it’s out there, we’ll find it,” said Hallman who noted that in September Fort Bragg stepped up its drug prevention operations.

“What we want the community to know is that a very small percentage of our force chooses to do the wrong thing,” he said.

In addition to ongoing random drug testing – a monthly urinalysis of 10 percent of each unit – Hallman said there has been an increased law enforcement presence with military working dogs now checking all of them. doors at random intervals.

Sgt. Aaron McQuery trains dogs to smell narcotics, including marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA, known as ecstasy.

“We will be called to a gate or a barracks building and we will search with the dogs, finding narcotics,” McQuery said.

Once caught, Hallman said the consequences can vary depending on the offense: extra duty, salary withdrawn, rank reduced or even separation from service, which means a soldier could be kicked out of the military.

However, every soldier is not just an investment in national security, he is someone who needs help.

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“There’s usually another reason why they do it,” said Hallman, who added that rehabilitation is always on the agenda.

Services are available through the Army Substance Abuse Program, or ASAP, where soldiers dealing with drug addiction can get the help they need.

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