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ANNAPOLIS IS NOW SHIPSHAPE AFTER EXPELLING 15 FOR DRUG USE

SHARE ANNAPOLIS IS NOW SHIPSHAPE AFTER EXPELLING 15 FOR DRUG USE

The U.S. Naval Academy expelled 15 midshipmen for drug offenses, ending the worst drug scandal at the military school in more than 20 years.

Fourteen of the midshipmen were found to have used LSD and marijuana, and one was charged with failing to report drug use by another midshipman.Officials said the expulsions, along with the courts-martial of five midshipmen this spring, eliminated the academy's drug users.

"We feel we've done a thorough investigation," said Lt. Scott Allen, an academy spokesman. "I think we're very confident we've rooted out the problem."

Along with being kicked out of school, the students must pay for their taxpayer-supported education, which amounts to $85,000 for the 10 seniors expelled.

The expulsions, which still must be approved by Navy Secretary John Dalton, culminate an investigation that began last October with a sting operation at a motel after authorities received a tip from a midshipman. Agents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service posed as drug dealers and sold LSD to two midshipmen.

The investigation initially implicated a total of 24 midshipmen. Five midshipmen received suspended jail sentences or prison terms. The remaining four were either found not guilty or there was a lack of evidence for a hearing.

After the October arrests, the entire 4,000-member brigade was tested for drugs within 48 hours, and all tests were negative.

The drug scandal was part of a series of alleged wrongdoing by midshipmen during the past year that included a car-theft ring, breaking and entering charges and allegations of sexual misconduct.