British marines sent home over hard drug use

PRISTINA, Jul 27, 2000 -- (AFP) Seven British marines serving with the KFOR peacekeeping force in Kosovo have been sent home after testing positive for drugs, KFOR spokesman Major Roger Cooper-Simpson said Wednesday.

Six of the troops, serving with the Commando Logistic Regiment, tested positive for "Class A drugs," a British legal term which refers to hard drugs such as heroin, and the seventh for a less dangerous substance, Cooper-Simpson said.

The random tests were carried out in Britain before the men were deployed to Kosovo, the Yugoslav province under international administration since the end of its 1998-1999 civil war in June last year, but the results were not known until after their arrival.

An eighth member of the unit who was not sent to Kosovo also tested positive at the same time, Cooper-Simpson added.

"They will be dealt with administratively by their units in Britain. They will almost certainly be kicked out of the forces," he said.

The drug test failures are the latest in a series of scandals to tarnish the image of British troops serving in Kosovo.

Earlier this month an officer serving as part of KFOR's central command was sent home after being caught "out of bounds" late at night in a notorious Pristina bar by military police.

In June four British soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers manning a checkpoint near Pristina were accused by local civilians of stealing cash and a video camera. An investigation into the allegations is ongoing, KFOR spokesman Major Angus Forbes said Wednesday.

Original article