An Air Force Academy cadet will face court-martial next week on charges of cocaine use and lying to investigators.
Junior cadet Ethan Walton, who came to Colorado Springs as a football recruit, faces a maximum sentence of five years in a military lockup on the drug charge. A talented linebacker from Lilburn, Ga., Walton led his high school squad with 85 tackles as a senior.
Walton played for the academy’s Preparatory School after he arrived on campus in 2015 but hasn’t cracked the varsity squad.
Walton’s legal troubles began in May after a routine drug test. Court papers show Walton was confronted about the test by agents from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.
According to a charge sheet, Walton told investigators he tested positive for cocaine because he had eaten drugged food at a Tejon Street watering hole in the days before the test.
The attempt to explain the result landed Walton with a charge of making a “false official statement,” a federal felony.
Air Force prosecutors say Walton’s falsehoods didn’t stop there. Two weeks after the failed drug test, the cadet was hauled in again and questioned about an alleged trip to Las Vegas with classmates, which Walton denied. Investigators say Walton was lying, landing him a second count of make a false statement.
The last charge against Walton is the most serious, alleged cocaine use. Using cocaine while serving in uniform carries a maximum penalty of five years along with dismissal from the school.
Walton is scheduled for trial beginning Tuesday.
Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240 Twitter: @xroederx