Special Forces soldier charged with smuggling Colombian cocaine into Florida

WASHINGTON — A decorated Special Forces soldier was arrested Monday for attempting to smuggle nearly 90 pounds of cocaine from Colombia into the U.S. on a military airplane, according to two defense officials.

Army Master Sgt. Daniel Gould, a soldier assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group, was arrested after Drug Enforcement Administration agents found 40 kilograms of cocaine in two backpacks on a military airplane in Colombia. The plane was bound for Eglin Air Force Base near Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

Gould allegedly tried to smuggle the cocaine in the two military-issue "punch out" bags. He was on vacation in Cali, Colombia, the week before the bust but had already traveled back to the U.S. when the drugs were loaded onto the aircraft. Officials said Gould used a proxy to move the bags onto the plane, but could not say whether that person was complicit or not.

A spokesperson for Army Special Operations Command would not comment on specific details.

"We are aware of recent allegations concerning a U.S. soldier assigned under U.S. Army Special Operations Command for reportedly attempting to smuggle narcotics from Colombia into the U.S. We are cooperating fully with law enforcement officials concerning this matter. In order to protect the integrity of the investigation and the rights of the individual, there is no additional information available for release at this time," Lt. Col. Robert Bockholt wrote in response to questions about the case.