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Twelve current, former soldiers face drug charges at Alberta military base

CFB WAINWRIGHT, Alta. - Military police say a dozen current and former soldiers from a Canadian forces base in Alberta are facing a total of 70 drug-related charges.

CFB WAINWRIGHT, Alta. - Military police say a dozen current and former soldiers from a Canadian forces base in Alberta are facing a total of 70 drug-related charges.

The most serious charges are against two soldiers from CFB Wainwright. They are accused of making and trafficking a hallucinogenic drug called dimethyltryptamine (DMT).

Other drugs identified in the investigation include ecstasy, marijuana, cocaine and prescription narcotics. All of the drugs involved had an estimated street value of $10,000.

Eleven of those charged had held the rank of private and one was a corporal. Eleven are men and one is a woman.

Most were in Wainwright awaiting their release from the military, said Maj. Daniel Dandurand, the head of the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service in the West. Three had already been released prior to charges being laid. None had ever been a part of the mission in Afghanistan.

"The soldiers involved are all quite junior ... in both rank and time of service," Dandurand said Wednesday. "None of them had any operational experience."

The arrests were made under the National Defence Act and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

The director of military prosecutions must now decide whether to proceed to a court martial.

A toll-free hotline is being set up in Western Canada and the North to allow callers to remain anonymous with any concerns about drug use on a military base.

The Canadian Forces has a zero-tolerance policy on drug abuse.

"We take every allegation of drugs seriously," Dandurand said. "The nature of the work we do is not conducive to the use of drugs."

Random drug testing can be done at any time, and all troops shipping out to Afghanistan are subject to a short-notice urine test.

CFB Wainwright is Western Canada's major training ground. Soldiers there are primarily honing their combat skills before deploying to Afghanistan.

Recent military statistics show five to six per cent of individuals in the Canadian Forces use illicit drugs compared to10 to 12 per cent in society, Dandurand said.

The last time the military had a case of this type was in December 2006 in New Brunswick at CFBGagetown where five soldiers were charged.

 
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