The U.S. Army soldier released in a prisoner swap in Afghanistan for five Taliban detainees, ended up in the middle of a pot raid last week. Bowe Bergdahl’s currently awaiting a possible court-martial on charges of desertion for abandoning his post in Afghanistan and for misbehavior before the enemy that endangered his unit.
According to the Anderson Valley Advertiser, Bergdahl was an “unexpected visitor” at a Mendocino County farm. Captain Greg Van Patten with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said they detained Bergdahl, but he was “determined not to be connected to the operation, at least there was no evidence to suggest he was involved.”
When they met Bergdahl, Van Patten said he identified himself while the sheriff’s office reached out to the Department of Defense. The agency confirmed Bergdahl was on leave, and asked for their help in getting him back.
Sheriff’s deputies later drove Bergdahl “to a halfway point,” near Santa Rosa, California, and returned to his duty station by military personnel.
“U.S. Army North was contacted by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office on July 21 regarding an incident within their jurisdiction in which Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was present,” Lt. Colonel Jason Shropshire told the Army Times.
An Article 32 investigation into his case’s scheduled to start September 17. The investigation is to decide if there’s enough evidence to merit a court-martial and is often compared to a civilian grand jury inquiry.
The desertion charge falls under Article 85 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, carrying a maximum punishment of five years confinement, reduction to the rank of E-1, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a dishonorable discharge. The misbehavior charge falls under Article 99 of the UCMJ and carries a maximum punishment of confinement for life, reduction in rank to E-1, forfeiture of pay and allowances and a dishonorable discharge.
Bergdahl’s assigned to a desk job at Fort Sam Houston, when he should be locked up in the brig.