A Navy officer pleaded guilty Friday to using cocaine, the stimulant Adderall and the mood-altering drug MDMA, the latest commissioned submariner to be convicted in the Seattle area.
At least six submarine officers assigned to boats at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Washington, have been convicted or disciplined for drug-related offenses this year.
After pleading guilty last week as part of a pretrial agreement, Lt. Alexander Egber was sentenced to 30 days behind bars and a letter of reprimand, according to Navy spokeswoman Liane Nakahara.
A member of the nuclear missile-carrying submarine Pennsylvania’s Blue Crew, Egber admitted to using MDMA― better known by its street names “Molly” and “Ecstasy" — in California in October 2017, and to taking Adderall in Arizona that same month, Nakahara said.
He also pleaded guilty to using cocaine in late 2017 in Seattle, a few hours away from his sub base, Nakahara said.
Egber originally faced additional charges for distributing and soliciting the distribution of cocaine in Seattle that month, according to charge sheets.
Egber’s civilian defense attorney, Stephen Carpenter, said his client is “extraordinarily remorseful” about his crimes.
“Lt. Egber clearly associated with the wrong people...and made some bad choices,” Carpenter said.
Egber’s shipmate, Lt. j.g. Riley W. Hoffman, pleaded guilty in October to using and possessing cocaine in Seattle in December 2017 as well.
He was sentenced to forfeit $6,000 in pay over a year, a reprimand and two months base restriction.
Under the terms of his plea deal, both the pay forfeiture and restriction were suspended, Navy officials said earlier this month.
Hendren’s conduct unbecoming plea stemmed from putting a civilian in touch with a drug dealer in July, after he’d already been hit with the original charges, his attorney, Michael Berens, told Navy Times.
The junior officer received 150 days confinement, a letter of reprimand and will have to pay $20,000 out of his paycheck over five months.
Records provided by Berens allege that Egber turned Hendren in to authorities.
Egber told Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents in August that Hendren had helped orchestrate a coke buy the month before, according to a search warrant affidavit targeting Hendren’s cell phone.
Hendren and Egber had met two unnamed civilians at a Seattle bar after work on July 26.
Over the next few hours, Hendren texted a dealer and then took the civilians to an apartment building to get drugs, according to the affidavit.
Hendren said he "did not want Lt. Egber to witness anything,” so he went upstairs but arranged to meet later to go to dinner, the agent wrote.
On the way to the restaurant, Egber asked Hendren what happened but was told “it’s not his business,” the affidavit stated.
Egber kept asking until Hendren “became defensive and stated he does not know what he is talking about,” the agent wrote.
Carpenter, Egber’s attorney, said his client did the right thing by reporting the incident to the Navy.
Three other sailors have received non-judicial punishment for drug-related offenses, Submarine Group 9 spokesman Lt. Mack Jamieson told Navy Times earlier this month.
The six were busted after an unidentified junior officer popped positive for drugs during a routine urinalysis, Jamieson said.
Asked whether military leaders were concerned that this rash of officer drug cases might signal a broader problem plaguing the underwater fleet, Jamieson said the command takes “all allegations of drug use seriously.”
“The Navy has a robust drug prevention program in place to inform sailors not to use illegal drugs and ensure sailors are aware of what can happen if they violate this policy,” he said.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.