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August 20, 2008

Senior USCG officer faces cocaine charge

A senior officer on the Coast Guard's Pacific Area staff has been charged with wrongfully using cocaine and has been temporarily reassigned to a non-supervisory position.

According to a press release issued by USCG District 11, Alameda, Calif., Capt. Michael Sullivan, who had been serving as Pacific Area's chief of response, was charged Tuesday with one specification of wrongful use of cocaine under Article 112(a) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and one charge of obstruction of justice under Article 133 of the UCMJ.

The charges against Sullivan are merely accusations, notes the release. He is presumed innocent until proven guilty under proceedings conducted in accordance with the UCMJ.

Vice Adm. David Pekoske, the Coast Guard Pacific Area Commander, has directed that the charges against Sullivan be investigated in accordance with Article 32 of the UCMJ. Such an investigation is required before charges could be referred for trial to a general court-martial.

An Article 32 hearing is a preliminary hearing in which an investigating officer inquires into the truth of the matters set forth in the charges and recommends disposition of the charges. The accused member and his counsel are present and have the right to question witnesses at such a proceeding. A date has not yet been set for the Article 32 hearing.

If found guilty of both charges, Sullivan faces a potential maximum sentence of a dismissal from the Coast Guard, 10 years confinement and forfeiture of all pay and allowances.


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