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South Korean Marine Sergeant Caught in Drug Bust at Off-Base Housing

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A Marine Corps non-commissioned officer was caught by police while taking drugs at an off-base military residence.

Facebook and official Instagram of the Republic of Korea Marine Corps

The Marine Corps announced that a Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) was urgently arrested on June 11 for suspicion of abusing psychotropic drugs in his residence in Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province.

The NCO, who was rambling and asking for help, was apprehended by the police after they detected signs of drug use. The NCO has since been handed over to the Marine Corps Investigation Unit and is currently under military investigation.

Even more shocking is that the NCO had already turned himself in for drug use in the past and was under military investigation. The Marine Corps stated, “We will take measures according to the law and regulations based on the results of the future investigation.”

This incident highlights the serious issue of drug problems within the military. The military authorities need to come up with fundamental measures against the drug problem within the military in light of this incident.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that the number of public officials caught for drug offenses is also increasing. According to data submitted by the National Police Agency to Representative Kim Mi Ae of the People Power Party on June 11, a total of 9 public officials were caught as drug offenders from January to May. Nearly 10 people have been booked in the first half of this year, while less than 20 public officials have been caught as drug offenders annually over the past five years (2019-2023).

In the past five years up to last year, 69 public officials were caught as drug offenders by the police. The numbers increased from 10 in 2019 to 16 in 2020, then decreased to 7 in 2021 when COVID-19 peaked. It then increased again to 17 in 2022 and 19 in 2023.

This year, by institution, local government officials accounted for 5 of those caught, while the Ministry of Education and Education Office had one each. Even officials from the Ministry of Justice and the National Police Agency, who could be considered the main bodies cracking down on drug use, were caught. The police explained that the case of a police officer who died after using drugs with acquaintances last August was included in this year’s statistics after the investigation of accomplices ended in April.

As drug crimes become more severe, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety recently decided to impose severe penalties, including dismissal or termination, on public officials who commit drug-related misconduct even once.

Kim stated, “It is alarming that public officials, who should actively implement policies and enforce laws to return to a drug-free country, are being caught for drug-related crimes.” She added, “Public officials who commit drug crimes intentionally or by gross negligence should be severely punished, and the government should establish and execute systematic plans for drug prevention and treatment.”

As the drug problem is becoming serious even in the public service sector, there are growing calls for the government to strengthen punishment as well as prevention and treatment programs.

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