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Illegal immigrants in Marine uniforms arrested

SAN DIEGO - Border Patrol agents caught 13 illegal immigrants wearing U.S. Marine uniforms at a border patrol checkpoint near San Diego, an agency spokesman said Tuesday.

The immigrants were in a van that was stopped March 14 along Interstate 8, Border Patrol spokesman Michael Jimenez said. The van had a U.S. government license plate with an altered number, Jimenez said. He did not know where the group obtained the military uniforms.

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Two U.S. citizens who were with the immigrants were arrested on suspicion of alien smuggling, Jimenez said. Three of the immigrants were being held in federal custody as witnesses and the others were returned to Mexico, their country of origin, he said.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Border Patrol were conducting a joint investigation of the incident. NCIS spokesman Ed Buice said he couldn't discuss details, but "there are several obvious questions that need to be answered."

It's not known if the two U.S. citizens who were arrested have been in the military, the Border Patrol said.

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