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Navy SEAL overdoses at Veterans Village rehab center

The Veterans Village of San Diego campus is shown on June 3, 2022.
Zoë Meyers / inewsource

Former Navy SEAL Nathanael Roberti is on the run.

The 38-year-old was born in Thailand to Baptist missionaries and moved to the U.S. as a child. In 2005, as a member of Navy SEAL Team 10, the Taliban opened fire on his team’s helicopter, leaving 11 of his friends dead.

Roberti survived — he was ordered off the aircraft before it was shot down, because the load was too heavy.

Residents said they have struggled to stay sober in the face of widespread drug use inside the treatment center.

As time passed, flashbacks from the war, coupled with anger, depression and childhood sexual trauma, led to drug addiction and a series of arrests. In 2013, Roberti entered Veterans Treatment Court, which offers alternatives to incarceration for former military personnel, and was placed at the highly regarded Veterans Village of San Diego for treatment.

After graduating from the program, Roberti decided to pursue his business ventures in New York, where he relapsed. He was arrested in Long Beach in 2015 on assault charges.

The combat veteran found his way back to San Diego, but he fell into addiction again. He was homeless for two years.

A warrant for Nathanael Roberti taken from San Diego Superior Court records is shown in this photo.
San Diego Superior Court
A warrant for Nathanael Roberti taken from San Diego Superior Court records is shown in this photo.

“Being homeless was both a blessing and a curse; my ego and my shame were peeled away like the layers of an onion and I finally hit what I believe to have been my absolute bottom,” Roberti wrote in a statement to the treatment court this year.

While homeless, Roberti was rushed to the hospital when a MRSA infection caused his face to swell and eyes to shut. Soon after, he hit a curb while riding a scooter downtown and knocked all of his front teeth out. Then, he witnessed a friend’s death, which brought back unresolved trauma from the war.

It’s the best way to stay connected with the latest news from the award-winning investigative team at inewsource.