Jacksonville Herbal Tea Disaster

The tea leaves from what seemed to be a simple hot cup of tea have forecast disaster for Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Javier Trevino.

After four years in the Navy, Trevino now works as an air traffic controller at the Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville. That is until a friend brought back some tea from Mexico and gave it to Trevino when was visiting in San Antonio last May.

The tea tasted pretty good. Trevino even gave it to his eleven-year-old son and a best friend’s pregnant wife. But that seemingly innocent cup of tea may end Trevino’s Navy career.
It seems that the tea was mate de coca, made from the leaves of the plant used to make cocaine. On a drug test it shows up as cocaine.

There is not enough cocaine in the leaves to be of consequence – less than one percent, and the Florida Times-Union reports the tea is even available for $21 on Amazon in a form where the cocaine is removed much like decaffeinated coffee removes caffeine. Still a small amount of cocaine residue remains.

Trevino was convicted at a court-martial in December and now faces a discharge from the Navy and a loss of his air traffic controller license after he failed a drug test. All of this came about when Trevino went in for a random drug test at Mayport in July. He says he had no idea this would happen. In fact the judge at his court-martial also believes Trevinio’s claims of innocence.

However, Trevino will begin 45 days of restricted duty and he will have to appear before an administrative separation board which will decide on his discharge and whether he can keep his air traffic controller’s license.

Trevino says he plans to educate other sailors against drinking teas from other countries, the origins of which you are not always aware.