Soldiers jailed on drug, armor theft charges

/ Source: The Associated Press

Two Army paratroopers are in jail, accused of selling drugs and body armor to an undercover FBI agent who also was offered a military Humvee and a 105 mm howitzer.

Joffre "Trey" Cross, 21, and Jason Scott Niewoit, 18, both Army privates in the 82nd Airborne Division, are charged with selling stolen government property, including bullet-resistant vests and morphine, according to U.S. District Court records. They also offered to sell the agent the Humvee and howitzer, according to the documents.

Cross and Niewoit already had been facing removal from the Army on misconduct charges, said Maj. Tom Earnhardt, a spokesman for the 82nd Airborne. He declined to elaborate.

According to court records, Cross and Niewoit met an undercover FBI agent May 24 in Concord, northeast of Charlotte. They first offered to sell medical supplies, which the agent didn't buy, then Cross offered a desert-camouflage bullet-resistant vest with protective plates in the front and back, and a helmet.

The agent agreed to buy a bullet-resistant vest and a helmet for $900. The agent also bought Diazepam, which is a sedative, and morphine sulfate, according to court records.

The agent then bought another Army-issue vest from Niewoit for $400, the records say.

The two were arrested June 4 and are being held at the Durham County Jail. A federal magistrate ruled at a June 12 hearing that both men were a flight risk and a danger to the community.

Jeff Welty, Niewoit's attorney, wouldn't comment about the specific charges. Cross' attorney, Scott Holmes, declined to comment.

An audit accounted for all 82nd Airborne equipment, including the stolen items, Earnhardt said.