DOCUMENT: Investigation, Crime

Military Probes Drug Use By Sergeant’s Kids

Boys, 6 and 4, told Air Force police they used bong


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Children Smoke Spice

SEPTEMBER 11--Federal agents are probing an Air Force staff sergeant for allegedly forcing his two young sons--aged six and four--to smoke controlled substances with him inside the family’s home on a New Mexico military base.

The troubling investigation is targeting Steven DiDonna, 27, for violations of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, specifically child endangerment and illegal possession of a controlled substance, according to court filings.

As part of the criminal investigation, military officials last month obtained DNA samples from the two children. Evidence from the buccal swabs will be compared to “several drug paraphernalia items” seized from DiDonna’s home at Cannon Air Force Base.

The probe of DiDonna (seen at right) began in May after drug paraphernalia was found “hidden inside a child car seat located in the vehicle of SSgt DiDonna,” according to an affidavit sworn by an Air Force police officer.

DiDonna’s father, an Army specialist based in Oklahoma, subsequently told investigators that he found “some pipes and a lighter” in a room that his son occupied during a recent family visit. Anthony DiDonna--who turned the paraphernalia over to Army officials--told investigators that his grandchildren explained to him that, “the bag with the pipes and lighters was used to smoke ‘the good stuff.’”

During a mid-May search of DiDonna’s residence, military investigators seized “one homemade smoking device, one pipe with a metal bowl, and two herbal incense packages, brand name ‘Kataral Rush.’”

When questioned by a child forensic interviewer, DiDonna’s sons disclosed that their father “had smoked a gray in color substance in a big bong and also in a little pipe” with them. The six-year-old child “described in detail how to utilize the bong in order to smoke.”

During questioning by military investigators, DiDonna “blamed the drug paraphernalia found on his wife” and “denied utilizing the smoking devices.” However, the affidavit notes, DiDonna admitted to having synthetic marijuana (“Spice”) in his residence.

In a TSG interview, DiDonna, an eight-year Air Force veteran, claimed that various family members did drugs in his home, but that he did not participate. DiDonna added that he remains on active duty and has custody of his children. (3 pages)