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Camp Pendleton Marines charged in alleged human smuggling operation

Thirteen Marines from Camp Pendleton have been charged in connection to a human smuggling operation, the Marine Corps said Friday. They are facing charges ranging from drunkenness and failure to obey orders to larceny and perjury. 

Among the Marines charged are two who were pulled over by Border Patrol agents on July 3 for transporting three undocumented immigrants. Those two Marines, Lance Corporal Byron D. Law and Lance Corporal David J. Salazar-Quintero, were charged with allegedly transporting and conspiring to transport undocumented immigrants. 

Ten other Marines who are also from the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division were detained by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) during battalion formation on July 25 for alleged involvement in human smuggling and drug-related offenses, the Corps said.

US Marines Human Smuggling
This Nov. 13, 2013 file photo shows the main gate of Camp Pendleton Marine Base at Camp Pendleton, California. Lenny Ignelzi / AP

One other Marine, part of the 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, was detained by Border Patrol on July 10, the Corps said.

The Marine Corps said none of those charged were assigned to military support along the southwest border. 

The investigation into the alleged human smuggling ring began after the two riflemen were stopped. Law and Salazar-Quintero were initially charged in federal court but the case has since been turned over to the Marine Corps.

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