US air base probe into cocaine video

MILITARY chiefs at a Suffolk air base are examining video footage posted on the internet which appears to show American airmen snorting cocaine.

Will Clarke

MILITARY chiefs at a Suffolk air base are examining video footage posted on the internet which appears to show American airmen snorting cocaine.

Officials at RAF Mildenhall, who have a zero policy on drug abuse and routinely discharge airmen found guilty of offences involving illegal substances, last night confirmed they were reviewing the material posted on the YouTube site which claims to show “what really happens on and off RAF Mildenhall air base”.

In one section of the five-minute video a man is shown snorting what appears to be a line of cocaine. The footage also shows what appear to be airmen drinking, playing with fire at a barbecue and toying with a large machete-style knife.

It also shows footage taken from cars being driven around the base and images of a busy Bury St Edmunds market day.

More footage of similar behaviour is promised on the site and viewers are urged to stay tuned.

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Master Sergeant Charles Tubbs, a spokesman for RAF Mildenhall, said base officials were also looking into whether the footage was genuine.

“We are currently reviewing the video to determine what action, if any, is appropriate. I can confirm that as part of that we are looking at whether it is genuine,” he said.

MSgt Tubbs said that if drugs offences were found to have taken place in and around the base military chiefs would adopt a tough stance.

“I can reassure the public that if the law has been broken action will be taken. RAF Mildenhall has a policy of drug testing personnel as it stands right now - we take a zero tolerance stance.”

Last year a number of airmen were thrown out of the USAF following a special undercover drug bust at neighbouring RAF Lakenheath in 2006.

The swoop followed an investigation by the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations and arrests involving airmen from Lakenheath and Mildenhall followed. Court martial hearings held last year found airmen guilty of either dealing in illegal drugs, possession of banned substances or both. The drugs involved included Ecstasy, cocaine and marijuana.

In most cases the airmen concerned were jailed and thrown out of the military.

The probe centred on the dormitories at the 48th Fighter Wing at Lakenheath throughout 2006. The investigation culminated with the undercover sting which resulted in the arrest of 10 airmen and the confiscation of drugs.

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