Soldier, wife face federal drug charges after delivery intercepted in Gulfport
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - An Army National Guard member and his wife were in federal court this week after agents say packages containing methamphetamine were being shipped to their Gulfport home from other countries.
David and Regina Cooper are charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute Schedule I and IV controlled substances. Both were arrested on state charges last year for the drugs, but are now facing federal charges.
"Any behavior like this is unacceptable and not in line with Army values," Army National Guard Lt. Col. Tim Powell said. "Our soldiers are very dedicated and professional and every soldier is expected to abide by the standards of the Army National Guard."
Lt. Col. Powell said the Army National Guard has flagged Cooper's files, which means no favorable personnel actions, like a promotion or any awards, can be given to him. Cooper's security clearance has also been suspended pending adjudication of the charges, so he is not allowed to have access to any sensitive information. If Cooper is convicted of any of the drug charges, Powell said he will be discharged from the military immediately.
"These charges related to the solider occurred while he was off duty, so he is facing charges in the civil process," Lt. Col. Powell said. "We are closely monitoring the civil process."
The Department of Homeland Security United States Customs and Border Protection at JFK International Airport seized a suspicious package containing a white substance on May 25, 2014. The package was being shipped from India to David Cooper in Gulfport. After being tested, the substance was found to be 97.4 grams of methamphetamine.
Four days after the package was intercepted, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics agents conducted a controlled delivery at the Gulfport home. David Cooper accepted the package and MBN agents went in and searched the home. Cooper's wife, Regina Cooper, was also home at the time of the search.
MBN agents found found several drugs at the Coopers' home including Alprazolam (Xanax), Methylone and Dimethhylone, MEC, MDMA (ecstasy), pentedrone with methcathinone, MDA, pentedrone and etizolam. A mixture of some of the drugs are used to make molly. All the drugs MBN agents estimate have a street value of more than $170,000.
Also seized were prepaid cards with David and Regina Cooper's names on them, which agents say were used to help facilitate the purchasing and selling of illegal narcotics. Label makers, a heat sealer, pill press, digital scales, empty shipping boxes, empty capsules, shipping labels, postal tracking receipts and documents related to buying and selling illegal narcotics were also found.
On June 3, 2014 another package was intercepted by the US Postal Inspection Service this one was shipped from China. The package contained 95.6 grams of methamphetamine.
A federal judge set a $25,000 bond for Regina Cooper, but one of the conditions of bond is she's not allowed to have any contact with her husband.
David Cooper was denied bond. A federal judge said there is no condition that would assure Cooper would appear in court and that would ensure the defendant is not a risk to the community. Cooper was out on bond for another charge when he was arrested.
The judge noted that while Cooper was out on bond he continued communicating with suspected drug traffickers about illegal narcotic activity and he has contacts outside the United States. Cooper is also an active military member and could be deployed overseas.
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