Sixteen Marines arrested for alleged involvement in a human smuggling ring
Sixteen Marines arrested for alleged involvement in a human smuggling ring. They are also implicated in a drug trafficking operation, the Marine Corp said. Eight other Marines were questioned on their involvement in the alleged ring. Earlier in July, two active-duty Marines, at the same Camp Pendleton, California, were arrested for allegedly smuggling a trio of illegal immigrants near the border
Sixteen Marines have been arrested for alleged involvement in a variety of illegal activities ranging from human smuggling to drug-related offenses.
The arrests took place on Thursday morning at Camp Pendleton, California, during a battalion formation, a statement from the Marine Corps said.
Earlier this month two active-duty Marines were arrested for allegedly smuggling a trio of illegal immigrants near the US-Mexico border.
'Information gained from a previous human smuggling investigation precipitated the arrests,' the statement said. 'None of the Marines arrested or detained for questioning served in support of the Southwest Border Support mission.'
Eight other Marines were also questioned on their involvement in alleged drug offenses unrelated to today's arrests, the Marine Corps said.
'1st Marine Division is committed to justice and the rule of law, and we will continue to fully cooperate with Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) on this matter,' officials said in a statement.
'Any Marines found to be in connection with these alleged activities will be questioned and handled accordingly with respect to due process.'
Officials did not release the names of the arrested Marines, and did not disclose additional details of the alleged offenses.
Lance Cpl. Byron Darnell Law II and Lance Cpl. David Javier Salazar-Quintero were busted on July 9 by US Border Patrol agents while driving illegal immigrants on Interstate 8 in Jacumba Hot Springs in southeastern San Diego County, California.
Law and Salazar-Quintero, who were also stationed at Camp Pendleton, admitted to having done the same the night before, picking up another illegal immigrant near the same place about 10.30pm Tuesday July 8.
The three passengers told authorities that they were Mexican citizens in the country illegally and had been picked up from the side of the road by a car driven by Law.
Two of the migrants admitted they planned to pay more than $8,000 to get into the States and expected to settle in New Jersey and Los Angeles, court documents state.
On four different occasions, Salazar-Quintero admitted he's been to Jacumba Hot Spring for pick-ups of illegal immigrants.
The first time he returned without picking up anyone, he claimed, while the second time he was promised, but not given $500 for smuggling a man.
'We are aware of the charges facing Lance Cpl. Law and Lance Cpl. Salazar-Quintero, and we continue to cooperate fully with the investigative efforts into this matter,' Marine spokesman 1st Lt. Cameron Edinburgh told Marine Corps Times at the time.