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Steroids, cocaine: 4 Marines separated for alleged drug offenses on Middle East deployment

Alleged drug offenses during a 2018 Middle East deployment led to the separation of four Marines ― two for alleged positive cocaine tests, while two were involved in an alleged illegal shipment of steroids.

The Marines were all with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, based in Twentynine Palms, California, which was spread across three war zones during its 2018 deployment to the U.S. Central Command area of operations.

The steroid package, allegedly shipped by a private first class in Twentynine Palms, California, to a lance corporal at Ahmad al-Jaber Air Base in Kuwait, was “intercepted” at the Kuwait Joint Military Mail Terminal when an X-ray found four vials that were not on the shipment’s customs form, according to investigation documents Marine Corps Times received through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Both Marines involved received nonjudicial punishment for the alleged illegal shipment and were administratively separated from the Marine Corps, Maj. Kendra Motz, a Marine Corps spokeswoman, told Marine Corps Times in email Thursday.

An Army Criminal Investigation Division agent who saw the X-ray opened the package, initially suspecting the vials were an attempt to illegally smuggle alcohol to the deployed Marine alongside the sunflower seeds, rice cakes and protein powder declared on the package’s customs form, according to the report.

After opening the package, the investigator discovered the vials still had the manufacturer labels on them, identifying as 250 mg/ml bottles of testosterone enanthate and discovered six blister packs of 10 pills labeled Cytotam 20, tamoxifen citrate, not originally seen in the X-ray, the investigation said.

Testosterone enanthate is an androgen and anabolic steroid, while tamoxifen citrate is an estrogen blocker. Both substances are sometimes used to help increase the body’s production of testosterone and accelerate muscle growth.

After the discovery, investigators interrogated the lance corporal who was supposed to receive the package. The Marine “readily admitted to trying to obtain testosterone boosters," according to the investigation.

The Marine told agents he wanted something to help him “cut down” and get leaner around the waist because the mass gainers he had been taking were making him too big, the investigation said.

The two Marines had arranged the shipment before the private first class was sent back to Twentynine Palms early, for allegedly “cussing out some higher-ups," the lance corporal said, according to the report. He added that after the private first class returned to the U.S. the two had no communication about the shipment until the Marine in the U.S. sent him a Snapchat message with package’s routing number.

The two then exchanged messages on Snapchat discussing how to take the drugs for maximum effect, and the Marine in Kuwait ordered syringes off Amazon to use once he received the package, the investigation said.

The Marine meant to receive the package then told investigators that he did not know what was being shipped to him was illegal, even though the Marine shipping the package warned him the drugs might be seized in the mail, the report said.

“I didn’t think much of” the warning, the Marine told investigators, allegedly believing that what he was receiving was “similar to protein but better.”

Other NJPs on the deployment include two Marines who allegedly violated the Corps’ social media policy: One for inappropriate comments and posting a photo of himself in uniform with a cigarette in his mouth, “flipping off the camera,” and another for allegedly posting “an inappropriate picture of himself on the Terminal Lance Instagram,” records showed.

Another Marine was punished for allegedly deploying without his issued gas mask.

The Marine allegedly knew the mask was missing before the deployment only passing the predeployment gear inspection by borrowing someone else’s gas mask, according to the records.

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