A senior midshipman at the Naval Academy pleaded guilty to drug charges yesterday during a court martial at the Washington Navy Yard, officials announced.
Midshipman Jason A. Harloff, of Fairport, N.Y., pleaded guilty to attempted possession, conspiracy, use and transfer of LSD as part of a bargain with Navy lawyers, a source close to the investigation said. His case is the first of six midshipmen charged with distributing LSD to reach trial.
Prosecutors made no sentencing recommendation at the hearing, but if he had been tried and convicted, he could have been sentenced to up to 50 years in jail.
Possible penalties for Harloff include imprisonment, dismissal from the Navy, a fine and forfeiture of pay. Captain Tom Jurkowsky, an academy spokesman, would not comment on the plea arrangement last night. Harloff is to be sentenced Jan. 17.
"We're pleased that the cases are under way and progressing and we have reached an appropriate resolution for these charges," Captain Jurkowsky said.
Harloff was one of two midshipmen arrested in October by Navy investigators for buying the drug from undercover officers at a Glen Burnie hotel. Academy officials later announced that six midshipmen are suspected of peddling LSD and marijuana, and 18 are suspected of using the drugs.
The allegations against Harloff included several instances where he was accused of selling the drug and using it off the academy grounds. His attorney, Lt. Larry Burch, could not be reached for comment.
Yesterday's case was the first of the 24. Hearings for the remaining midshipmen have not yet been scheduled. Though two dozen midshipmen have been accused of drug use, only two have tested positive in random tests in the past 15 months, and all 4,000 midshipmen tested negative a day after the arrests.