U.S. airmen at nuclear missile base suspended over drug probe

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 18, 2016 12:14 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Fourteen airmen who helped secure a U.S. complex in Wyoming that includes nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles have been suspended from their duties due to an investigation of "illegal drug activity," the U.S. military said on Friday.

"The drug allegations involving these 14 airmen are credible," said Air Force General Robin Rand, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command. He added that the allegations involved activities by the junior airmen during their off-duty hours.

Rand, speaking to reporters, declined to detail the kinds of drugs involved or say whether the allegations extended to the sale and distribution of illegal substances.

Prior to being pulled from their duties in the 90th missile wing, the airmen helped secure F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, as well as its surrounding missile complex, Rand said.

"The investigation began after an airman became aware of the suspected drug activity and promptly alerted (authorities)," he said.

The probe came two years after a series of scandals involving U.S. nuclear missile forces triggered a reform effort. Those scandals also included drugs and extended to missile launch officers who cheated on their proficiency exams.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Dan Grebler)