One current and three former soldiers were sentenced Tuesday in federal court in connection to a fuel theft scheme while deployed with the Army to Afghanistan in 2011 that cost the U.S. more than $10 million.
Each of the soldiers had previously pleaded guilty to one count of bribery and one count of conspiracy to commit offense against the United States and were sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Terrence W. Boyle as follows:
Christopher Ciampa, 33, of Lillington, 10 years in prison;
Jeffery B. Edmondson, 38, of Fayetteville, eight years in prison;
Geoffrey Montague, 39, of Fayetteville, five years in prison;
Enmanual Lugo, 32, of Ocean Township, New Jersey, four years in prison.
The four men, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, served in the 3rd Special Forces Group Service Detachment at Kandahar Air Field in 2011. Edmondson was the senior enlisted member of the unit who supervised all of his co-conspirators and is the only one still in the Army. Montague was a senior enlisted member of the unit who reported to Edmondson.
While there, they were responsible for managing Army transportation movement requests for fuel and other support of military units by outside vendors.
The defendants admitted to taking bribes in exchange for faking such requests for transporting thousands of gallons of fuel that were awarded to the same Afghan trucking company.
The fuel was not necessary or used by military units, but was instead transported from the air field by the trucking company and sold on the black market.
The men said in court documents that some of the bribe money was wired back to the U.S. or hidden in personal items and brought back on their person or in their luggage.
Edmondson and Ciampa, who received the longest sentences, also admitted to using the money to purchase vehicles.
"These men were trusted to provide their fellow soldiers with the resources needed to successfully complete our mission in Afghanistan," said John Strong, special agent in charge of the FBI in North Carolina. "Instead, they chose to personally profit from selling stolen fuel valued at millions of dollars.
"These federal sentences should reassure the public that the FBI and our law enforcement partners will not tolerate the theft of government resources intended to protect our servicemen and women overseas."