A routine drugs test in April found that several soldiers had been taking drugs in their leisure time, including marijuana and synthetic drugs. "At this stage we can’t rule out the possibility that drugs were being sold within Zeltweg barracks," the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.
The ministry said that those affected were soldiers and conscripts who were in a training programme. Three soldiers, who are reported to have been involved with drugs before joining the army, have since been dismissed and will be charged. No professional soldiers were involved.
The ministry is also investigating allegations of sexual harassment which came up during the inquiry into drug use. These allegations concern professional soldiers who are accused of having treated other soldiers “unlawfully and having breached their duty”. A criminal investigation has not been ruled out.
The ministry has refused to go into details in order not to jeopardize the ongoing investigation, but told the ORF broadcaster that disciplinary action against the suspects has been initiated.
In a statement the army said it regretted the incidents and that as soon as new information is available the public will be informed. Defence Secretary Gerald Klug (SPÖ) declined to comment for the time being, as the incidents at Zeltweg are not a political matter.