Combined Patrols Find Drugs in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2012 — Com­bined Afghan and coali­tion forces found two large drug caches in Afghanistan yes­ter­day, mil­i­tary offi­cials report­ed.

A com­bined patrol in the Pan­jwai dis­trict of Afghanistan’s Kan­da­har province found about 660 pounds of mar­i­jua­na, and a com­bined force in the Dand dis­trict of Kan­da­har province dis­cov­ered about a ton of hashish.

In Jan. 21 Afghanistan oper­a­tions:

— A com­bined force killed Farid, a Tal­iban judge, and two oth­er insur­gents and seized rock­et-pro­pelled grenades, assault rifles, grenades and chest racks in the Sayyid­abad dis­trict of War­dak province. Farid was respon­si­ble for ambush­es and for road­side-bomb and direct-fire attacks against Afghan and coali­tion forces and for mis­treat­ing the local pop­u­lace and facil­i­tat­ing a kid­nap­ping oper­a­tion.

— A com­bined force cap­tured a Tal­iban facil­i­ta­tor and detained sev­er­al sus­pects in the Mai­wand dis­trict of Kan­da­har province. The facil­i­ta­tor oper­at­ed a bomb-mak­ing cell and plant­ed explo­sives through­out the Mai­wand and Zharay dis­tricts. He was respon­si­ble for mul­ti­ple attacks against Afghan and coali­tion forces.

— In the San­gin dis­trict of Hel­mand province, a com­bined force cap­tured a Tal­iban facil­i­ta­tor, detained sev­er­al sus­pects and seized about 200 pounds of opi­um. The facil­i­ta­tor dis­trib­uted explo­sives to insur­gent fight­ers in Hel­mand and Kan­da­har provinces.

— A com­bined force cap­tured a Haqqani net­work leader and detained anoth­er sus­pect in the Khost dis­trict of Khost province. The leader con­duct­ed road­side-bomb and direct-fire attacks against Afghan forces.

In Jan. 19 oper­a­tions:

— A com­bined force detained sev­er­al sus­pects and seized about 880 pounds of opi­um, 220 pounds of hero­in and 4,400 pounds of acetic anhy­dride in the Now Zad dis­trict of Hel­mand province. The cache includ­ed bomb-mak­ing mate­ri­als, includ­ing 132 pounds of explo­sive chem­i­cals, numer­ous pres­sure plates and main charges. The secu­ri­ty force also con­fis­cat­ed anti-per­son­nel mines, mor­tar rounds, weapons and ammu­ni­tion.

In oth­er news from Afghanistan, an Arti­cle 32 hear­ing for Army Spc. Ryan Offutt came to a close yes­ter­day at Kan­da­har Air­field when the inves­ti­gat­ing offi­cer rec­om­mend­ed all but one of the charges be for­ward­ed to a court-mar­tial. An Arti­cle 32 hear­ing is sim­i­lar to a grand jury in the U.S. civil­ian judi­cial sys­tem.

Offutt is charged in con­nec­tion with the Oct. 3, 2011, death of Army Pvt. Dan­ny Chen, an infantry­man assigned to the 25th Infantry Division’s Com­pa­ny C, 3rd Bat­tal­ion, 21st Infantry Reg­i­ment, 1st Stryk­er Brigade Com­bat Team. Chen was found in a guard tow­er with an appar­ent self-inflict­ed gun­shot wound.

The inves­ti­gat­ing offi­cer at Offutt’s hear­ing rec­om­mend­ed for­ward­ing all charges to court-mar­tial, except for a charge of manslaugh­ter. The com­man­der of the 1st Stryk­er Brigade Com­bat Team now will con­sid­er those rec­om­men­da­tions in deter­min­ing whether to for­ward the charges to the Region­al Com­mand South com­man­der for final dis­po­si­tion.

Offutt was charged under the Uni­form Code of Mil­i­tary Jus­tice with two spec­i­fi­ca­tions of vio­la­tion of a law­ful gen­er­al reg­u­la­tion, four spec­i­fi­ca­tions of mal­treat­ment, one spec­i­fi­ca­tion of manslaugh­ter, three spec­i­fi­ca­tions of assault con­sum­mat­ed by bat­tery, one spec­i­fi­ca­tion of neg­li­gent homi­cide and one spec­i­fi­ca­tion of reck­less endan­ger­ment.

Offutt, a 32-year-old native of Greenville, Pa., is an infantry­man assigned to Com­pa­ny C and is one of eight sol­diers fac­ing charges in con­nec­tion with Chen’s death. The Arti­cle 32 hear­ings for the sev­en oth­er sol­diers are sched­uled to take place by Feb. 20.

Com­piled from Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Joint Com­mand News Releas­es