In an evening gone wrong, three married US Marine officers entered an area of the Colombian city of Bogota that is off-limits to Pentagon personnel, partied, purchased the services of sex workers, and were subsequently drugged and robbed of US property — violations that could land each of them prison time and a dishonorable discharge.
After a day spent at a business conference in the Colombian city last February, a pilot, a theater security cooperation planner and an exercise planner, all with the United States Marines, allegedly walked into a bar in an off-limits section of Bogota, solicited several sex workers and took the women back to their hotel rooms.
All three may now be charged with, at a minimum, "conduct unbecoming an officer" following a report that Marines Chief of Staff Colonel Michael Farrell wrote for Marine Brigadier General Kevin Iiams, the commander at the time of the incident, according to Stripes.com.
According to the Marine Corps report on the investigation obtained by the Miami Herald, the three officers must face "appropriate administrative or judicial proceedings."
In detailing the charges, the report observed that the three officers violated a 1 a.m. curfew, traveled to an area of the city forbidden to Marines, entered a local bar and solicited four sex workers, who they then took back to their hotel rooms.
One of the officers was documented as stopping off on the way back to their rooms to draw cash advances off of a US government travel card, according to Stripes.com.
Two of the officers later became unconscious in their room, in spite of, according to Farrell's report, being previously told about "the specific hazard associated with local nationals utilizing the drug scopolamine to incapacitate and rob their victims."
A laptop computer and two iPhone 6 cellphones — all government-issue gear containing sensitive US military information — were stolen. Two iPads and two iPhones belonging to the officers were also stolen, along with an undetermined amount of cash.
"It is impossible to know at what point [they] were poisoned by their companions or when the drugs took effect," Farrell reported, adding, "It is indisputable, however, that [they] placed themselves in a situation that directly resulted in being drugged, robbed, hospitalized and the loss of US
The report noted that the officers "associated with women other than their spouses throughout the night, to include imbibing for a prolonged period of time, dancing with the women in public and being with them privately in their hotel rooms."
"This conduct is prejudicial to good order and discipline and constitutes conduct unbecoming an officer," the report concluded.
The unit to which the officers are attached released a statement via email on Friday, claiming that the Marines Corps takes "all allegations of misconduct seriously, and has thoroughly investigated this incident…. Marines are expected to uphold high standards of personal conduct and this command will appropriately address allegations of substantiated misconduct."