- REUTERS/Jason Reed
- Marines with the 1st Marine Division were arrested Thursday during a battalion formation at Camp Pendleton in California.
- The arrests were in relation to alleged involvement in crimes ranging from human smuggling to drug-related offenses.
- The arrests reportedly stemmed from information collected after 2 other Marines from the same unit were arrested in relation to an attempt to smuggle undocumented immigrants into the US for financial gain.
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Sixteen Marines with the 1st Marine Division were arrested Thursday in relation to crimes ranging from human smuggling to drug-related offenses, the Marine Corps announced.
The arrests, which were precipitated by information gained from a previous human-smuggling investigation, took place during a battalion formation at Camp Pendleton in California. Eight other Marines were taken in for questioning for their alleged involvement in drug-related activities, the Corps said.
“1st Marine Division is committed to justice and the rule of law, and we will continue to fully cooperate with NCIS on this matter. Any Marines found to be in connection with these alleged activities will be questioned and handled accordingly with respect to due process,” the statement explained.
Thursday’s arrests are linked to the arrest of Marines Lance Cpl. Byron Law and Lance Cpl. David Javier Salazar-Quintero, members of the same unit targeted in the latest round of arrests, Task & Purpose reported, citing a source familiar with the matter.
Law and Salazar-Quintero were arrested on July 3 and charged with attempting to smuggle undocument immigrants for “financial gain” after they were caught by US Border Patrol agents transporting three Mexican citizens without the proper paperwork near the US-Mexico border.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service pulled information from the Marines’ phones, triggering the arrests that occurred Thursday, Task & Purpose reported.
The Marine Corps said that none of the 16 service members arrested were part of the ongoing mission on the southern border.