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Naval Academy Student Pleads Guilty to LSD Distribution


February 1996

Midshipman Jason Anthony Harloff, facing a maximum penalty of 50 years, was sentenced to four months in jail and was given a dishonorable discharge in the first court-martial involving a drug distribution ring discovered last fall at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis (Fern Shen, "Midshipman Pleads Guilty in Academy Drug Case," Washington Post, January 5, 1996, p. B1; Amy Argetsinger, "Midshipman Gets Jail in Drug Scandal," Washington Post, January 18, 1996, p. A4).

Harloff pleaded guilty to possession, conspiracy, use and transfer of LSD. He said he purchased 200 doses of LSD from an undercover police officer at a Maryland hotel with another midshipman. He said he planned to distribute the drug to others at the Academy.

A total of 24 midshipmen have been accused of using or distributing marijuana and LSD at the Academy. Five other students face possible court-martial and 18 others have been charged with lesser offenses.

The incident led officials to drug test of all 4,000 midshipmen last fall. No student tested positive. The 150-year-old academy is a training facility for future top Navy officials. It is considered an elite institution with a tradition of very high standards of behavior and a strict honor code. Misconduct at the academy made news in 1989, when eight male midshipmen handcuffed a female midshipman to a urinal, and in 1992, when 71 students cheated on an engineering exam ("4,000 Naval Academy Midshipmen Tested For Drugs After Two Caught With LSD," NewsBriefs, December 1995, p. 19).