Last week, sixteen Marines were arrested during morning formation by Naval Criminal Investigate Service (NICS). The Marines were arrested at Camp Pendleton, California.
The Marines were arrested related to “various illegal activities” related to allegations of human trafficking to drugs, in a press release from the Marine Corps.
The Marines where arrested and questioned by NICS personnel. The Marines arrested by NICS ranged from Private First Class (PFC) to Corporal (Cpl) and are a part of 1st Battalion 5th Marines.
An additional eight Marines were questioned about their involvement in unrelated drug offenses. None of the arrested or questioned have been in support of military operations at the U.S.-Mexico border according to the Marine Corps.
The arrests by NICS is preceded by the July 3 arrest by Border Patrol Agents of two Marines, LCpl. Byron Darnell Law II and LCpl. David Javier Salazar-Quintero, near the U.S.-Mexico border. Both Marines are rifleman part of 1st Battalion 5th Marines.
The two Marines were pulled over July 3 in a black BMW carrying three passengers who claimed they were undocumented Mexican immigrants. Two of passengers claimed they were going to pay $8,000 to be smuggled into the U.S. Once in the U.S. the two planned to travel to New Jersey and Los Angeles.
The two young Marines face federal charges allegedly for smuggling three undocumented immigrants near the U.S.-Mexico border for financial gain, court documents detail.
Marine Officials from 1st Marine Division worked alongside NICS during the arrests, in the press release for the Marine Corps.
Also, in the press release the Marine Corps states, “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.”
Last Friday, NICS arrested three more service members in connection to the sixteen arrested the day before. The three arrested Friday brings the grand total up to nineteen arrests, in this sweeping human trafficking and drug probe.
Jeff Houston, an NCIS spokesman, said the two Marines are attached to the same unit — 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment — as the sixteen arrested at morning formation Thursday. The sailor, Houston said, is a corpsman assigned to Camp Pendleton.
Of the nineteen service members arrested none of them have been charged. A Marine official not authorized to comment on the case said Friday he expected charges to be filed early next week, according to Military.com.
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