The Marine Corps is conducting a command investigation at 5th Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, to learn how four packages of drug test urine samples in a single box were mailed to a private resident in Arizona rather than the Navy testing center in Illinois.
Marine Corps Times discovered the erroneous mailing through a post by the recipient on Twitter. Tweets included images of the mailed box opened with biohazard stickers and address labels for 11th Marine Regiment at Camp Pendleton, California.
The four samples inside the box shown in the Twitter photo were addressed to the Navy Drug Screening Laboratory at Great Lakes, Illinois.
But the outside priority, two-day shipping box had a U.S. Postal Service address label to the civilian recipient.
Marine Corps Times reached out to the recipient via the social media platform for comment but did not receive a response. The photographs have been redacted to limit personal identifying information of the urine sample recipient.
Maj. Kendra Motz, 1st Marine Division director of communication strategy and operations, noted that the command already was aware of the shipping error and had been working to recover the packages.
On Wednesday she confirmed that there was “no evidence to suggest there are additional erroneously sent packages in circulation at this time.”
By Thursday, the Marines have recovered the packages, she wrote in an email response.
In response to Marine Corps Times query, Motz said that Marines who provided samples in that batch are “subject to any future random or probable cause urinalysis.”
When asked about chain of custody of the items, Motz said that the Corps had determined that the samples had not been intentionally mailed to an incorrect address.
Further details of the error were still being looked at.
“A command investigation has been initiated by Marine Corps Installation–West into what actions occurred after the boxes were delivered to the base post office,” Motz wrote in an email.
Marine Corps Times reported in December 2020 that the service had authorized testing Marines for LSD following the previous announcement of positive tests for the drug at 2nd Marine Division.
“We have a drug problem in the 2d Marine Division,” Maj. Gen. Francis L. Donovan, commanding general for the division, had said in a press release.
Before that, the Corps could only test for LSD with a law enforcement request.
But a policy change in summer 2020 resulted in 4,000 such tests conducted between August and December 2020 at 2nd Marine Division, officials said.
“Due to increased concerns regarding the usage of LYSERGIC ACID DIETHYLAMIDE by service members, the Office of the Under Secretary Defense for Resiliency approved adding LSD to the Drug Demand Reduction Standard Test Panel in August 2020, commencing in December 2020,” Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Joseph Butterfield said at the time.
The drug was last on the Defense Department’s testing battery in 2006. DoD eliminated it because only four service members had tested positive for the drug after three years and 2,095,398 specimens screened, according to the 2006 memo.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.