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Third Lejeune Marine Being Questioned About Parachute-Tampering Incident

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CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — A third Marine has been taken into custody in connection with an investigation into the 2nd FSSG parachute-tampering incident, as well as an active narcotics investigation.

Cpl. Clayton A. Chaffin, 28, an air delivery specialist fromFranklin, Ohio, was being held at the base brig, said 2nd Lt. KateVandenBossche.

Chaffin also was being held in connection with an ongoingnarcotics investigation, Camp Lejeune officials said in a newsrelease.

Chaffin's civilian attorney, Vaughan Taylor of Jacksonville,said he could not comment on any matters of evidence. Chaffin wasscheduled to have a hearing at the base brig on whether he shouldbe detained longer.

"He maintains his total innocence with regard to this matter,"Taylor said.

Under military law, a suspect can be held without charges for alimited time in pretrial confinement, said Lejeune spokesman StaffSgt. James Connolly.

Officials did not say what role they believe Chaffin may haveplayed in the parachute sabotage.

Another Marine accused of tampering with the parachutes isscheduled to go to court-martial July 29. Lance Cpl. Antoine D.Boykins, 21, of Baltimore, is charged with 13 counts of attemptedpremeditated murder, 13 counts of reckless endangerment and onecount of conspiracy to commit premeditated murder.

Charges were dismissed against a third Marine, Lance Cpl. JulianC. Ramirez, 25, of Los Angeles.

Three Marines were injured Sept. 21, 2002, when their parachutesfailed to open when they jumped from about 1,250 feet; theirreserve chutes deployed safely. Other jumps for that day's exercisewere canceled, and investigators later found that 13 of the 22parachutes had been sabotaged.

At a hearing in March, a military prosecutor said Boykins andRamirez cut parachute suspension lines because they had beendisciplined and were angry with their platoon commander.

The charges against Ramirez were dismissed the following monthafter his attorneys argued that no forensic evidence linked Ramirezto the crime.

All three Marines are members of the 2nd Transportation SupportBattalion, 2nd Force Service Support Group, Connolly said.

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