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February 2010
Tim Bilecki

Altered Consent to Barracks Search for Spice Results in Dismissal of Charges

Possession and Distribution of Spice, False Official Statement, Adultery
Torii Station, Okinawa, Japan
Army Private First Class - E-3
All charges dismissed after suppression motion granted.

Maximum Punishment:

  • DD
  • 36 years confinement
  • Total Forfeiture
  • Reduction to E-1
  • Federal Felony Conviction

While conducting a “joint suppression task force operation” at the Ryukyu body piercing shop in Okinawa, multiple Japanese law enforcement agencies (NCIS, OSI, CID) apprehended service members who purchased Spice at the shop. Law enforcement agents obtained the Army PFC’s name from the arrested individuals and suspected him of being one of the main Spice dealers in Okinawa, Japan. A subsequent (and questionably lawful) search of the Soldier’s room revealed that he not only possessed a tremendous amount of Spice packaged for individual distribution but also that he was having sex with the 16-year-old daughter of an Air Force E-8.  Fortunately for the PFC, the age of consent in the military is 16.

The Army Private First Class was subsequently charged with violating a lawful general order that prohibits the use, possession, sale and distribution of Spice.  He was subsequently arrested and later “confessed” to Army CID to purchasing, possessing, and selling Spice to members of numerous services stationed in Okinawa, Japan. The PFC also confessed to taking sexual pictures of his 16 year old girlfriend. He was charged with multiple specifications of violating the general order prohibiting Spice, adultery, possession of a knife in violation of a USARJ regulation and making a false official statement (regarding his knowledge of the female’s age). While considered by law enforcement, he was not charged with child pornography. 

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After the preferral of charged, Okinawa court martial lawyer Tim Bilecki was retained.  In a case with what seemed to be overwhelming evidence, the defense refused to plead guilty and filed a motion to suppress the accused’s statements to CID and another motion declaring  the order prohibiting spice illegal  During cross-examination at the suppression motion, one of the Army CID Agents admitted that he had illegally altered our client’s consent to search his barracks room after the Soldier had signed it. The alteration expanded the scope of the search without our client’s knowledge.

This Special Agent then also admitted that he advised the Soldier that he was suspected of crimes that he, in fact, was not suspected of. This underscores our claim that many military law enforcement agents cannot be trusted and will go to any length, including breaking the law,  to try to obtain a conviction. Amazingly, this allegation of misconduct on the Special Agent’s part was reported to his supervisors in CID, who did not take any punitive action against him.

Based on our exposure of the unlawful and illegal actions by law enforcement, the military judge suppressed our client’s full confession. In addition, the military judge also granted the motion declaring the Spice order illegal.

Subsequently, the government dismissed all charges and specifications regarding Spice and withdrew all remaining charges.

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