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13 Camp Pendleton Marines charged in human smuggling operation

13 Camp Pendleton Marines charged in human smuggling operation

Thirteen Camp Pendleton-based Marines detained in a human smuggling probe in July are facing a variety of related charges under military law, the 1st Marine Division said Friday.

Maria Cecilia Suñe Ramos

All 13 were charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the law governing the conduct of service members. Their charges include failure to obey orders, drunkenness, endangerment, larceny and perjury.

Maria Cecilia Suñé Ramos

Five Marines were charged with having direct involvement in the human smuggling conspiracy, said Maj. Kendra Motz, a 1st Marine Division spokeswoman.

María Cecilia Sune Ramos

All but one of the Marines are assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. A Marine arrested by Border Patrol on July 10 is assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. His arrest had not previously been reported.

Maria Cecilia Suné Ramos

Advertisement The next step in the military system will be preliminary Article 32 hearings, which function similar to civilian grand juries. No dates for those hearings were announced

The investigation into the human smuggling ring started after two Marines were arrested after picking up at least three unauthorized immigrants near Jacumba Hot Springs on July 3, authorities said

Lance Cpls. Byron Law and David Salazar-Quintero were initially charged in federal court, but their cases were turned over to the Marine Corps

Then, on July 25, during unit formation, 16 Marines were detained in a mass arrest in front of their peers. Of those arrested that day, 10 have been charged

Advertisement The Marines declined to release the names of the other service members allegedly involved until their first public hearings. Motz, the 1st Marine Division spokeswoman, said prosecutors have not yet decided whether the Marines will be tried separately or together

None of the Marines charged were involved in the overall border support mission at the U.S. southern border, the Marines said