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San Diego sailors charged in SeaWorld ticket scam

Three San Diego-based sailors have been charged in recent months with using their shipmates’ personal information to obtain free SeaWorld tickets and then selling them to civilians, according to Navy charge sheets and officials.

Defendants Engineman 3rd Class Ryan K. Odom, Engineman Fireman Nygell T. Sebastien and Engineman Fireman Recruit Christopher Viray are all assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion 1.

Odom is due in court next week and is accused of conspiring with Sebastien and Viray between February 2018 and April 2018 to take advantage of SeaWorld San Diego’s Waves of Honor program, which allows active duty service members and veterans one free admission per year along with three of their dependents, according to Odom’s charge sheet.

The Waves of Honor site requires service members and veterans verify their identity online and later show ID at the gate.

Prosecutors allege the three used other service members’ personal information to score the Waves of Honor tickets and then sold them to others who were neither in the military nor dependents, according to Odom’s charge sheet.

Odom is also charged with pretending individuals were his dependents or fellow service members to get them into SeaWorld.

While the exact amount of ill-begotten Waves of Honor tickets involved remains unclear, the charge sheet states that the alleged crime topped $500.

Odom’s military defense attorney declined to comment through Navy spokesman Brian O’Rourke.

Viray faced similar charges at a Nov. 15 special court-martial hearing.

As part of a pretrial agreement, Viray pleaded guilty to pretending individuals were his dependents to get them into SeaWorld, according to Navy court records.

In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dropped a charge involving Viray conspiring with Odom and Sebastien.

The records indicate that Viray also pleaded guilty to using cocaine and MDMA, a synthetic mood-altering drug better known by its street names “Ecstasy” or “Molly.”

He was sentenced to 127 days confinement and a bad conduct discharge, but his plea agreement does not allow for a punitive discharge.

Viray’s military defense attorney did not respond to requests for comment submitted through O’Rourke.

Although initially charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Sebastien was disciplined later at Captain’s Mast, according to Naval Surface Forces spokesman Cmdr. Patrick Evans.

The Navy does not release details about administrative disciplinary actions, Evans said.

How this alleged SeaWorld scheme transpired remains unclear.

“Since the cases are ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment at this time,” Evans said.

A fireworks display goes off at SeaWorld San Diego before the theme park closed for Independence Day in 2015. SeaWorld also held a flag-raising ceremony in the morning for the holiday before the day’s showing of Waves of Honor, a time SeaWorld dedicates to military members worldwide. (Marine Corps)
A fireworks display goes off at SeaWorld San Diego before the theme park closed for Independence Day in 2015. SeaWorld also held a flag-raising ceremony in the morning for the holiday before the day’s showing of Waves of Honor, a time SeaWorld dedicates to military members worldwide. (Marine Corps)
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