Daniel J. Gould, who earned a Silver Star medal for combat valor for action in which he took part in Afghanistan in 2008, is now a convicted felon. The former soldier pleaded guilty last month in a Florida federal court to two counts of conspiracy to traffic, distribution and possession of cocaine.
Court documents show that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) acted on a tip in August that Gould was attempting to bring 40 kilograms of cocaine into Florida from Colombia, hidden in hollowed punching bags. Gould and a co-defendant began their crime spree earlier last year, when they conspired to bring in 10 kilograms of cocaine. They both traveled to Colombia with cash to buy the contraband. Once they procured the cocaine, they placed it on a flight to Florida. Once the cocaine arrived, the two men distributed it.
They then returned to Colombia to buy the 40-kilograms of cocaine. Gould placed $65,000 on a U.S. military plane bound for the country, which they used to pay for the contraband.
Gould will be sentenced on March 12. He could receive 10 years to life in prison for each trafficking conspiracy charge.
According to his Silver Star citation, Gould earned the honor while serving as a Green Beret during a firefight. The record shows that the then-staff sergeant killed at least 10 enemy combatants, thus clearing the way for teams to treat and evacuate a wounded comrade.