1995-0615, Drugs, COL in Charge of Drug Smuggling Smuggles Drugs.
In 1994 Laurie Hiett, wife of LTC James C. Hiett, 41, admitted to inpatient drug abuse treatment.
In 1998 the now COL Hiett is assigned as chief of staff US Mil Group Bogota, Columbia, he coordinates all counter drug efforts. COL Hiett is TDY often, his wife Laurie gets bored. She makes "close" friends with her driver, Jorge Ayalla, a Columbian, they visit bars in La Zona Rosa often, an off-limits area full of brothels.
They do cocaine together daily. She begins sending samples of cocaine and heroin to her old drug friends back in the USA. Jorge recommends she use her diplomatic immunity to smuggle large quantities of drugs into the USA, she agrees. She begins shipping 15-pounds of heroin and or cocaine back to the USA every 6-week. On May 23, 1999, a random search by drug sniffing dogs in Miami brings Laurie's business to an end. She is arrested COL Hiett was then transferred to Ft Monroe, VA.
2000-0417, COL Hiett pleads guilty: The Army COL who oversaw counterdrug operations in Colombia pleads guilty of misprision of a felony (the criminal failure to advise government officials as soon as possible that his wife was engaging in the crime of money laundering). COL James C. Hiett, 48, a SF officer was assigned to the US Military Group in Bogota. Hiett's wife Laurie, 36, pleaded guilty to smuggling cocaine and heroin into the US from Columbia. COL Hiett stored $45,000 (66,000-2019) of the drug money in his office safe. Initially the COL Hiett was investigated by CID. CID did not recommend any charges. The US Customs Service and the NYC Police got involved and said they would prosecute him if the Army did not.
2000-0616, Laurie Hiett sentenced to 5-years in prison.
2000-0713, COL Hiett sentenced to 5-months in the Brig, in imposing the sentence US District Court Judge, Edward Korman called COL Hiett, "a traitor to his country.” Hiett pleaded guilty to using money from his wife's drug business to pay bills. COL Hiett had 25-years on active duty; he will not receive retirement pay.
2000-0731, Many Call COL Hiett's sentence a slap on the wrist, "He got a great deal, only 5-months in prison, if COL Hiett had been MR. Hiett or SSG Hiett he would have gotten 25-years,” said Eric K. Sterling of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation in DC.
Author’s note: I was at Bragg while the Hiett family lived there. Laurie ran a call-girl service out of their home on COL’s row. I visited the downstairs area twice while COL Hiett was upstairs. I believe Laurie was married to a LTC she met in South America prior to her marriage to COL Hiett. She destroyed the first LTC’s career also. Please send details.
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