13 US Marines at Camp Pendleton charged with smuggling illegals over the border

(FILE PHOTO by Getty)

Thirteen Marines stationed at the U.S. Marine Corps’ West Coast base, Camp Pendleton, have been charged with allegedly smuggling illegal aliens into the United States.

Two months ago, on July 3, U.S. Border Patrol agents spotted three illegal aliens jumping into the car of two defendants — Lance Cpl. Byron D. Law and Lance Cpl. David J. Salazar-Quintero. The two Marines were subsequently arrested and the three illegals interrogated.

“In early July, Border Patrol agents in Southern California were checking hiding spots and tracking footprints near Interstate 8 when one of the agents saw a black car pull off the highway onto a dirt turnaround, according to [the] criminal complaint,” CNN reported Friday.

“Law was driving, and Salazar-Quintero was in the passenger seat, the complaint says. There were three passengers in the back of the car, and they told the agent they were Mexican citizens, had no immigration papers and were not permitted to enter the United States, it says.”

The illegals further admitted that they’d agreed to pay the Marines $8,000 to be smuggled into the U.S. Law has claimed that the smuggling operation was Salazar-Quintero’s idea.

A week after the two Marines’ arrests, another Marine was arrested in connection as per a Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) investigation into the matter. Then roughly two weeks later, 18 Marines and a Navy sailor were also arrested. Some were released afterward.

The latter arrests occurred over the span of two days.

Day one:

Source: KNSD

Day two:

Out of all the 22 military personnel who were arrested in July, only 13 were ultimately charged.

“The 13 Marines with the 1st Marine Division face military court [proceedings] on a range of charges under military law, including general article violations for transporting or conspiring to transport undocumented immigrants,” San Diego news station KNSD confirmed Friday.

The next step will reportedly be Article 32 hearings. According to Texas attorney Joseph L. Jordan, “Article 32 hearings are established under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and are similar to preliminary hearings in civilian law.”

“As most military members know, court-martials are the most serious level of proceedings when allegations have been made against service members. Prior to determining if there is enough evidence for a court-martial, defendants are required to attend an Article 32 hearing,” he notes.

“Article 32 hearings are presided by hearing officers who may be JAG officers or Military Judges. During the investigative hearing, hearing officers will present probable cause for the charges a military member faces, as well as any evidence to support the allegations against them. Hearing officers will make determinations about whether a case should proceed to general court-martial based on the evidence and allegations.”

Article 32 hearings and court-martials are not always justified.

What happened at Camp Pendleton may represent the first case ever of some “rotten apple” Marines selling out their own country by smuggling illegal aliens into the U.S. for profit. It, however, isn’t the first case of some “rotten apple” Marines engaging in the general act of smuggling.

Just earlier this year a former Mississippi-based Marine was sentenced to five years in prison for running a drug-trafficking operation across the border.

“David Cooper, 45, of Gulfport, was convicted of heading up a drug-trafficking organization whose buyers included military members,” local station WAPT reported at the time.

“In addition to prison, Judge Sul Ozerden ordered three years of supervised release and fined Cooper $10,000 on a charge of possession with intent to distribute the anti-anxiety drug alprazolam, the generic for Xanax.”

One month after Cooper’s sentencing, another former Marine — Junior Joseph — was found guilty of “conspiring with a Haiti senator and others to illegally export 166 semi-automatic guns and 30,000 rounds of ammunition to Haiti,” according to Task & Purpose.

“Junior Joseph’s guilty verdict on conspiracy to export firearms and four other counts came after five days of testimony and an hour of deliberation by the 12-member jury,” the outlet reported.

“The charges included providing false statements about the sale of a 9 mm Glock 17 pistol that was smuggled to Haiti as part of the illegal weapons stash but was later stolen.”

To be fair to the Marines, sometimes the smugglers are just people PRETENDING to be them …

No joke!


Source: Fox News

“Border Patrol agents recently arrested 13 illegal immigrants disguised as U.S. Marines and riding in a fake military van, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Tuesday,” Fox News reported in March of 2011.

“The illegal immigrants were clad in Marine uniforms when they were apprehended at the Campo Border Patrol Westbound I-8 checkpoint at 11 p.m. on March 14 near Pine Valley, Calif., border officials said. Two U.S. citizens in the van also were arrested.”

Clever … but not clever enough.

“This effort is an example of the lengths smugglers will go to avoid detection, and the skilled and effective police work and vigilance displayed every day by Customs and Border Protection personnel,” agency officials said at the time.


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