Two sailors assigned to the amphibious assault ship Essex pleaded guilty this month to using and distributing a boatload of drugs in the San Diego area, according to Navy officials and legal filings.
Hull Maintenance Technician 2nd Class Casey T. Balausky, and Interior Communications Specialist 2nd Class Tyler D. Farley were both charged with conspiring to sell 3.5 grams of cocaine — called an “eight ball” because it weighs an eighth of an ounce — to an undercover Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent in 2018.
Military prosecutors also alleged that from late 2017 through mid-2018, Balausky distributed cocaine, hallucinogenic mushrooms, LSD and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine — what’s better known as the mood-altering stimulant MDMA or “Ecstasy."
At one point in April, he possessed 11.5 grams of mushrooms and a milliliter of LSD that he planned to traffic, the charge sheets state.
He also faced one specification for allegedly stealing a military arc welder — valued at about $8,300 — in March of last year.
Farley was charged with bringing the eight ball of coke onto a military base and for possessing and distributing cocaine and mushrooms.
Prosecutors also alleged that he abused cocaine, mushrooms, LSD and Ecstasy from February through April of last year.
Author John Fraim drew inspiration for his fictional wrok from Navy Times' coverage of a real-life drug drug ring in the nuclear reactor department of the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan.
Military attorneys for both sailors declined comment through a Navy spokesman.
Balausky was sentenced to 34 months in the brig and a bad-conduct discharge, according to Navy Region Southwest spokesman Brian O’Rourke.
Farley will spend two years behind bars, pay a $250 fine and then get booted on a bad-conduct discharge, O’Rourke said.
It remains unclear if Balausky and Farley already have been incarcerated. They could not be reached by telephone and they failed to respond to requests for comment sent through social media.
Unlike the ongoing case against the alleged LSD ring operating out of the nuclear reactor department of the Japan-based aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, O’Rourke said this narcotics operation appeared to be limited to Balausky and Farley.
“We’re not looking at anybody else,” he said.
Fourteen sailors from the Ronald Reagan's nuclear reactor department face discipline in connection to hallucinogenic drug abuse, officials said.
Exactly how the two came to the attention of NCIS also remains unclear.
Naval Surface Forces Pacific officials referred Navy Times to NCIS and the law enforcement agency declined comment, except to note that the probe into the sailors is finished.
A Minnesota native, Balausky enlisted in 2014 and the Essex was his first duty station, according to service records.
Farley is originally from Maine and also enlisted in 2014.
He joined the Essex in 2015.