Airman Who Tried to Sell LSD on Ramstein Gets 6 Months in Jail, Bad Conduct Discharge

Security check-ins those entering Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Josh Olson, 86th Airlift Wing commander, scans an ID card while working with Tech. Sgt. Zita Martinez-Oros, 86th Security Forces Squadron bravo flight chief, at the gates on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Feb. 8, 2021. (Senior Airman John R. Wright/U.S. Air Force)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany — An airman who brought the hallucinogenic drug LSD with him from the U.S. to Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where he used and distributed it, was sentenced Monday by a court-martial to nearly six months of confinement and given a bad conduct discharge.

Airman 1st Class Devante King, 23, assigned to the 721st Aerial Port Squadron at Ramstein since 2019, was sentenced by military judge Lt. Col. Charles G. Warren to up to 171 days of confinement on each of four charges of possessing, introducing to a U.S. military facility, distributing and wrongfully using LSD.

Because the sentences will run concurrently, “You will serve 171 days, which, if you do the math, puts you out on Dec. 1,” Warren said.

King’s partner is expecting their first child on Dec. 4, the airman first class had told the court-martial earlier. Reading out a statement, he asked the judge “to show me mercy” so he could be present for the birth.

King had bought around $60 worth of lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, from a friend in Florida before being assigned to Germany in February 2019 -- his first posting since completing basic training the previous year, he testified. He brought around 10 tabs of the hallucinogen, wrapped in foil, into Germany in his backpack, he said.

They were mainly for his own use, and he ingested the drug four or five times between February and December 2019 at Ramstein, taking one or two tabs each time. He said LSD gave him insight into his feelings and allowed him to feel more in touch with himself.

Charges were brought against him after King arranged to sell two tabs of LSD for $18 to another airman, who turned out to be an informant.

Prosecutors presented text messages and written notes from King that they said showed he had planned all along to use his time in the Air Force to make money by dealing drugs.

They argued that King needed to be separated from society for what he did, and called for him to be given the maximum sentence allowed under the plea deal he struck with the government -- a year of confinement, reduction in rank, forfeiture of pay and allowances, and a dishonorable discharge.

“He is someone who talks about honor but chose to use the Air Force as a means to an end,” to make money by selling LSD, Capt. Ayana Clark said in sentencing arguments.

The defense said that King had only bought LSD once, only tried to give it to a fellow airman and used it himself just four or five times. Defense attorney Capt. Riley Widener added that many of the messages and notes presented by the government predated King joining the Air Force, and noted that King resold the two tabs for just $18. 

Warren said he felt King had “potentially rehabilitative qualities" while announcing the sentence.

“Now, it’s your turn to go and prove that,” he said.

King apologized for his mistakes and regretted that he had “stumbled off the path.” He was determined to show that “my life is not a failure,” he said.

It was not immediately clear where King would serve his sentence.

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