FORT LEE, Va. (WTVR) –For the first time at Fort Lee, two businesses are being black-listed, meaning soldiers aren’t allowed to go there. If they do and they are caught, they can be punished under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or UCMJ, where the penalty could be a discharge from the military.
The reason why comes down to synthetic marijuana, better known as spice, which has been outlawed in the Commonwealth and also in the Army.
“There’s been a serious trend of use across the Army, so much so, the Secretary of the Army prohibits the use of it,” said Maj. David Martin, the Provost Marshal. “Here at Fort Lee, it’s been an ongoing trend for the better part of a year.”
Martin says a few Fort Lee soldiers have been busted with spice, and then told their commanders where they bought the illegal drug.
“These soldiers obtained the ‘spice’ at a couple of local businesses and through police reporting, we’ve identified the locations,” he said.
One location is a Shell station on the Boulevard in Colonial Heights. The owner claimed to CBS 6 it was a big misunderstanding and said he had called the base. But Colonial Heights Police confirm his business did carry the drug.
In fact, teens in a surveillance video, were seen pulling off a ‘smash-and-grab’ style break-in at that store in July. Colonial Heights Captain William Asbach confirms the teens were stealing alcohol and spice.
“First two businesses in Fort Lee area that have ever been placed off-limits,” said Martin.
The second business identified by Fort Lee is a Cigarette City in Cavalier Square. That store owner told us she never sold the drug and doesn’t really have a lot of military customers so she didn’t fight the notice.
Fort Lee officials are warning soldiers that they have been given fair notice of the off-limit locations.
“If it’s proven they visit the establishment, then in accordance with the UCMJ, it can bring on a discharge,” said Martin.
More than 14,000 soldiers either work or train at Fort Lee.
The Provost Marshal says the businesses were given fair warning and that the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board reached out to both businesses, but felt their concerns were not addressed.