- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 22, 2015

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) - A U.S. Army veteran was sentenced Tuesday to 2 ½ years in prison for taking a $20,000 bribe in exchange for allowing an Afghan truck driver to take thousands of gallons of fuel from the military base in Afghanistan where he was based, authorities said.

Anthony Don Tran of Stockton, California, pleaded guilty on June 9 to bribery of a public official, the U.S. Justice Department said.

Tran, 28, admitted that while he was stationed at Forward Operating Base in the city of Gardez he allowed the truck driver to leave without downloading roughly 12,000 gallons of fuel purchased by the U.S. government and designated for the base, the department said. Tran also admitted that, on May 21, 2013, after returning to the U.S., he used the cash to buy a 2010 Dodge Challenger.

Tran also acknowledged taking at least $1,000 in cash from another member of his unit, former U.S. Sergeant Seneca Darnell Hampton, 31, of Columbus, Georgia, in exchange for Tran’s agreement not to report Hampton or former U.S. Sergeant First Class James Edward Norris, 33, of Fort Irwin, California, for also taking cash bribes in exchange for fuel, authorities said.

Both Hampton and Norris previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery of a public official and one count of money laundering. Hampton was sentenced to 2 years in prison, and Norris was sentenced to more than 4 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Beth L. Freeman of the Northern District of California on Tuesday also ordered Tran to pay $69,000 in restitution and to forfeit $11,437 as well as the vehicle that he purchased with bribe proceeds.

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