A Marine colonel and two majors could face career-ending disciplinary or administrative action after two of them were reportedly drugged and robbed of sensitive equipment by local women they had picked up in Colombia.
A military investigation into the February incident found that the three officers went to an off-limits neighborhood of Bogota and later returned to their hotel rooms with four local women, the Miami Herald first reported on Friday.
At the end of the night, two of the officers — Col. Roger McDuffie and Maj. Andrew Mueller, according to the newspaper's report — were drugged and passed out in their rooms. Several of their belongings were stolen, including a work laptop, other government-issued equipment and personal cell phones, the report said.
A third officer, Maj. Mauricio Saenz, was not drugged, but like the other two officers he drank and cavorted with the women, according to the Miami Herald. All three men are married.
Dyer declined to provide Marine Corps Times with the investigation cited by the Miami Herald.
Based on the Miami Herald's story, a military law expert said he believes the three officers could face a variety of administrative or disciplinary actions, including court-martial.
"If they were court-martialed, they could be sentenced to a dismissal, which is equivalent to a dishonorable discharge," said retired Marine Lt. Col. Guy Womack, a military defense attorney in Houston.
However, the officers could also face non-judicial punishment, be administratively separated or "be given a stern talking to and sent home," said Womack, who is not involved with the case.
If court-martialed, the three officers could face charges such as conduct unbecoming an officer, failure to obey a general order, loss of military property, drunkenness and pandering, Womack told Marine Corps Times in an interview Tuesday.
The Miami Herald reported that the three men and their female companions walked past other Marines who were waiting to go to the airport, and that means they could be charged with conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline and bringing discredit to the service, Womack said.
Although losing government property worth more than $500 is punishable up to a year in prison, Womack said it is unlikely that any of the officers will face jail time.
"I think a panel of military members, which would also be officers senior to these officers — if they thought a dismissal was appropriate, I think they would consider that to be enough," he said.