Camp Pendleton was rocked just a short while ago when 16 Marines were arrested on charges of human smuggling, along with various drug charges. A statement from 1st Marine Division reads: “Information gained from a previous human smuggling investigation precipitated the arrests. None of the Marines arrested or detained for questioning served in support of the Southwest Border Support mission.”
“1st Marine Division is committed to justice and the rule of law, and we will continue to fully cooperate with NCIS on this matter,” the statement says. “Any Marines found to be in connection with these alleged activities will be questioned and handled accordingly with respect to due process.”
These arrests come on the heels of a July 3 arrest involving two marines who were alleged to have been transporting illegal aliens across the border in a large smuggling operation. The Marine Corps also stated they were questioning eight other Marines in regards to drug allegations not related to the human smuggling charges.
The arrests were made during formation by 1st Marine Division officials earlier today. From NBC Philadelphia: “Officials with the 1st Marine Division of the U.S. Marine Corps. said representatives with Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) were also involved in what they called the “mass arrests.The Marines were arrested based on information gained from a previous human smuggling investigation, military officials said.”
The Marine Corps confirmed the soldiers were from the same unit as soldiers arrested on July 3, that being 1st Battalion, 5th Marine regiment. From The San Diego Union Tribune: “Division officials and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service carried out the arrests. The 16 arrested range in rank from private first class to corporal, or E-2 to E-4, according to 1st Lt. Cameron Edinburgh, a division spokesman.”
According to the Washington Post, Law and Salazar-Quintero, the two Marines arrested on July 3, were caught smuggling illegal aliens to make money on the side. From the Washington Post on July 9: “The three immigrants that Law and Salazar-Quintero allegedly tried to assist told authorities they expected to pay $8,000 to be smuggled into the United States, though it’s unclear whom they were paying.”
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