Air Force won't court-martial Hibler

November 01, 1990|By Anne Arundel Bureau of The Sun

The father of convicted Crofton drug dealer James Todd Hibler will not face a military court-martial but will instead be allowed to retire with full pension benefits.

A spokesman for the U.S. Air Force said yesterday that the decision to dismiss charges against Lt. Col. Russell J. Hibler was deemed to be "in the best interests of the Air Force."

The original object of the prosecution, said the spokesman, was to "guarantee Colonel Hibler's removal from active duty." A conviction was not a certainty and the "only way the Air Force's objective could be guaranteed was through retirement," he said.

Colonel Hibler and his wife, Suzanne Hibler, both 44, were arrested along with their son Todd and daughter Jessica one year ago when police raided their suburban home and discovered marijuana, cocaine, and hashish worth $750,000, as well as $70,000 in cash and several automatic weapons.

At the time of their arrest, the elder Hiblers were employed as psychologists at the National Security Agency.

Subsequent raids on houses near Annapolis and in Laurel linked to Todd Hibler uncovered $66,000 in cash and nearly 400 pounds of marijuana with a street value of nearly $1 million.

Todd Hibler, 23, is serving a 15-year prison sentence without the possibility of parole for operating the county's largest-ever marijuana drug ring. His sister Jessica, 20, is serving a probation sentence for her minor role in the enterprise.

Initial criminal charges against the parents were allowed to expire, and a county grand jury decided not to indict the couple last summer. But military investigators insisted at a hearing last month that Colonel Hibler, a former drug- and alcohol-abuse counselor, should have been aware of what was going on in his own home.

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