16 Marines arrested for human smuggling, drug offenses – Washington Examiner
Sixteen Marines at Camp Pendleton in California were rounded up at a battalion formation and arrested on human smuggling and drug charges.
The Marines involved in the Thursday arrests were part of the 1st Marine Division and were detained for “alleged involvement in various illegal activities ranging from human smuggling to drug-related offenses,” according to a statement from the Marine Corps.
An additional eight Marines were also questioned for their involvement in alleged drug-based offenses.
Thursday’s roundup is linked to the July 3 arrests of Lance Cpl. Byron Law and Lance Cpl. David Javier Salazar-Quintero, who were pulled over by Border Patrol officers who found three undocumented migrants in the backseat of their vehicle. The duo was allegedly trying to make money by smuggling people from Mexico into the U.S.
Law and Salazar-Quintero were charged in in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
The two were intercepted seven miles north of the southern border, about 20 miles east of a California port of entry. Two of the immigrants found in the vehicle told authorities that they were going to pay the men $8,000, with their end destinations being Los Angeles and New Jersey.
Thursday’s arrests came from a Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation that pulled information from the phones of the two men.
“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 Thursday statement said. “Any Marines found to be in connection with these alleged activities will be questioned and handled accordingly with respect to due process.”
“None of the Marines arrested or detained for questioning served in support of the Southwest Border Support mission,” it added.
[ Previous coverage: Two Marines charged with attempting to transport undocumented immigrants]