Two ex-military members charged with cocaine trafficking

Two former members of the Canadian Forces were charged with cocaine trafficking following separate, wide-ranging investigations by military police.

OTTAWA — Two former members of the Canadian Forces were charged with cocaine trafficking following separate, wide-ranging investigations by military police.

The charges against an ex-sailor and an ex-soldier were laid in mid-August, but the military only chose to release the information Friday, a spokeswoman for the provost marshal’s office said.

Former Ordinary Seaman Kevin McArthur faces three charges — drug trafficking, possession of a controlled substance and conduct that’s prejudicial to good order and discipline, a charge under the National Defence Act.

Since he was charged on Aug. 19 under the military justice system, McArthur is expected to face a court martial once a military prosecutor reviews the case.

McArthur was a member of the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in St-Jean, Que., and was released from the Forces last spring while the investigation was underway.

Former Pte. Ryan Sorbie was charged Aug. 18 in civilian court with trafficking cocaine at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa in Ontario at the conclusion of a separate investigation.

It is unclear when he’ll appear in court for a preliminary hearing.

Lt. Sandra Bourne, of the provost marshal’s office, couldn’t explain why the cases we were being dealt with under different judicial systems.

The penalties for drug trafficking under the National Defence Act and the Criminal Code of Canada are the same, she said.

Sorbie was let go from the army in June, also while he was under investigation.

The military would not say whether the charges are related to a series of tests at various stations and naval ships last year.

Urine tests conducted at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier, north of Quebec City, twice in 2008 found 51 people who tested positive for cocaine, 54 who tested positive for marijuana and several more for amphetamines.

At Petawawa, drug tests in January 2008 found 13 cocaine users, 16 marijuana users and three with opiates in their urine.The Forces conducts mandatory drug tests for soldiers headed on overseas deployments, a screening program that snared over 250 members of the military and prevented them from being sent to Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007.

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