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Soldier pleads guilty to smuggling cocaine

FORT BLISS, Texas (AP) — A soldier stationed in Colombia as part of the U.S. war on drugs pleaded guilty Thursday to participating in a scheme to smuggle cocaine into the United States using military planes.

Army Staff Sgt. Kelvin Irizarry-Melendez pleaded guilty to conspiracy, wrongful importation of cocaine and a charge related to taking money to Colombia.

The judge, Lt. Col. Jeffery Nance, accepted the plea, and a sentencing hearing was scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Irizarry-Melendez and three other soldiers were accused of smuggling cocaine from a U.S. base in Colombia.