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December 2019
Tim Bilecki

Sailor Facing 75 Years for Smuggling Drugs to USS Ronald Reagan Gets 10 Months

Conspiracy, Possession and Distribution of a Controlled Substance
Yokosuka, Japan
Petty Officer Third Class – E-4
Mixed findings, 10 months confinement, Bad Conduct Discharge.

In a case that made the front page of the Navy Times and was reported on by the Wall Street Journal, our client was targeted as a high-level importer and trafficker of LSD, Ecstasy and other psychedelics into Japan.  The government believed that our client, after importing the narcotics into Japan, smuggled them onto the Navy base and then onto the USS Ronald Regan.  

In this wide-reaching investigation, over 14 Sailors were prosecuted, many of them turning into informants against our client.  He was charged at a General Court Martial with:

  • one specification of conspiracy in violation of Article 81, UCMJ,
  • and two specifications of distributing Schedule I / II / III controlled substances in violation of Article 112a, UCMJ,
  • introduction of Schedule I / II / III controlled substances with the intent to distribute in violation of Article 112a, UCMJ, and
  • two specifications of possession of Schedule I / II / III controlled substances with intent to distribute.  
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The charges were significant, and the maximum sentence he faced was up to 75 years in prison.

Attorney Tim Bilecki was retained and assembled an extensive defense team, including a defense investigator and expert consultants. Our office battled the Navy in extensive litigation lasting over one year and involving numerous travels to both Japan and the United States. Days before the case was set to be tried before members, Bilecki was able to finalize a negotiated plea agreement that was in the works for several months.

Under this plea agreement, the government agreed to withdraw and dismiss the Conspiracy charge, the Distribution Charges and the Possession with intent to distribution charges in exchange for a plea of guilty to the remaining charges.  

At the sentencing hearing, Bilecki put on an extensive case in extenuation and mitigation, including expert testimony regarding the Sailor’s mental health issues.  While the Sailor was initially facing 75 years in prison, the Military Judge Sentenced him to only ten months of confinement and a Bad Conduct Discharge.

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