Six­teen Marines ar­rested on hu­man smug­gling al­le­ga­tions

Lodi News-Sentinel - - SPORTS - By Andrew Dyer

SAN DIEGO — Six­teen Marines were ar­rested at Camp Pendle­ton on Thurs­day morn­ing dur­ing bat­tal­ion for­ma­tion for var­i­ous illegal ac­tiv­i­ties rang­ing from hu­man smug­gling to drug-re­lated of­fenses, the 1st Ma­rine Di­vi­sion said in a state­ment.

The Ma­rine Corps said in­for­ma­tion from a pre­vi­ous hu­man smug­gling in­ves­ti­ga­tion led to the ar­rests. On July 3, two Marines — By­ron Dar­nell Law II and David Javier Salazar-Quin­tero — were ar­rested for al­legedly trans­port­ing unau­tho­rized im­mi­grants as part of a smug­gling op­er­a­tion.

Eight ad­di­tional Marines were ques­tioned about other al­leged drug of­fenses un­re­lated to the ar­rests, the Ma­rine Corps said.

The Ma­rine Corps con­firmed the Marines in­volved in Thurs­day's ac­tion are from the same unit as Law and SalazarQui­n­tero — 1st Bat­tal­ion, 5th Ma­rine Reg­i­ment.

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.

Names of the ar­rested Marines and de­tails of the al­leged of­fenses were not im­me­di­ately re­leased.

Ed­in­burgh told The San Diego UnionTri­bune the ar­rests were made dur­ing for­ma­tion at the unit's pa­rade deck in the San Mat­teo area of the base.

“It was a pub­lic dis­play for the en­tire unit to see,” he said.

Ed­in­burgh said for the mo­ment the 16 were in NCIS custody and set to be pros­e­cuted by the Marines, whereas Law and Salazar-Quin­tero are be­ing pros­e­cuted in fed­eral court.

“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.”

The Marines are be­ing held in the Camp Pendle­ton brig.

Law and Salazar-Quin­tero, both lance cor­po­rals, were ar­rested after Bor­der Pa­trol agents saw their ve­hi­cle pull off In­ter­state 8 around 10 a.m. near Jacumba Hot Springs and pick up three unau­tho­rized im­mi­grants, ac­cord­ing to U.S. District Court doc­u­ments.

SANDY HUFFAKER/GETTY IM­AGES FILE PHO­TO­GRAPH

The main gate at the Camp Pendle­ton Ma­rine Corps base on June 16, 2006 in Ocean­side.

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