16 Marines Arrested After Being Tied to Smuggling of Undocumented Immigrants from Mexico

Task and Purpose

Task and Purpose

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16 Marines Arrested After Being Tied to Smuggling of Undocumented Immigrants from Mexico

Sixteen Marines with 1st Marine Division were arrested on Thursday at a battalion formation for "alleged involvement in various illegal activities ranging from human smuggling to drug-related offenses," the Corps said in a press release.

Another eight Marines were questioned about their involvement in alleged drug offenses, the release said, which added that "information gained from a previous human smuggling investigation precipitated the arrests."

The arrest of the 16 can be traced back to the case of two Marine infantrymen, Lance Cpl. Byron Law and Lance Cpl. David Javier Salazar-Quintero, who were pulled over and arrested by Border Patrol on July 3 — along with three undocumented immigrants in the backseat — as they were allegedly trying to make a quick buck shuttling people from Mexico into the United States, according to a federal court complaint first reported by Quartz.

A source familiar with the matter told Task & Purpose the mass arrest of additional Marines came after the Naval Criminal Investigative Service pulled information from the phones of Law and Salazar-Quintero.

Maj. Kendra Motz, a spokeswoman for 1st Marine Division, told Task & Purpose the unit involved was 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, the same unit where Law and Salazar-Quintero were assigned. She added that all the Marines arrested or detained were between the ranks of Private First Class and Corporal.

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