5 soldiers charged in drug conspiracy

A bond hearing for three Ranger instructors and a fourth non-commissioned officer from the 5th Ranger Training Brigade at Camp Frank D. Merrill in Dahlonega, Ga. will be held Monday at the Richard Russell Federal Courthouse in Atlanta.

The four were charged last Friday, accused of plotting an armed robbery to steal cocaine from purported drug dealers, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia.

The soldiers were scheduled for a bond hearing on Wednesday but it was rescheduled for next Monday when a fifth soldier was arrested on related charges.

Originally charged were Staff Sgt. Carlos Alexis Lopez-Rivera, 30, Staff Sgt. David Ray White, 28, Sgt. 1st Class Randy Lloyd Spivey, 32, and Staff Sgt. Stefan Andre Champagne, 28.

Lopez-Rivera, White and Spivey are instructors at the site of the mountain phase of Ranger training. Champagne is a medic assigned to the 5th RTB, one of three phases of the Ranger Training Brigade at Fort Benning.

Telephone calls to the brigade, through Fort Benning's public affairs office, were referred to the U.S. Attorneys Office in Atlanta.

Lopez, White and Champagne were arrested Jan. 24 in Sandy Springs, Ga., by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Response Team. Spivey was arrested the next day at the Dahlonega training facility.

The fifth soldier charged in the drug conspiracy is Pablo Dyson of Fort Carson, Colo. He is also charged with the Jan. 2, 2007, arson of an Atlanta strip club. The soldiers are specifically charged with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine and for using firearms in connection with that conspiracy. The charges against them carry a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison for the drug conspiracy and an additional five years for the weapons charge.