Two active-duty Marines accused of smuggling migrants from Mexico 'for financial gain'

Joshua Bote

Two United States Marines on active duty have been arrested on suspicion of smuggling three undocumented migrants from Mexico to California "for financial gain."

Lance Cpls. Byron Darnell Law II and David Salazar-Quintero, both active-duty Marines in the 1st Marine Division, were arrested July 3 by Border Patrol agents, underscoring the ramifications of President Donald Trump's stringent policies on migrants and asylum seekers looking to cross the border from Mexico.

Both are active-duty riflemen stationed in Camp Pendleton in California, said 1st Lt. Cameron Edinburgh, a spokesman for the 1st Marine Division, to USA TODAY.

Border Patrol agents at Jacumba, California — a few miles from the United States-Mexico border — spotted a black BMW parked near a dirt path on the side of Interstate 8, according to court documents published by Quartz.

After that car drove away, another agent found footsteps near where the car was parked.

This incident was not the first time the two had transported undocumented migrants past the border, authorities say.

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Salazar-Quintero coordinated the pickup of a migrant July 2, asking Law to come along in exchange for $1,000.

They dropped off this individual at a McDonald's parking lot about two hours from the border, in Del Mar. They were not paid for this transport, according to documents.

They were told the next day that if they took another "job," which they ended up being arrested for, they would be paid for both days of smuggling.

However, it was Law, Salazar-Quintero alleged, who introduced him to the underground smuggling business through a recruiter, authorities say.

"We are aware of the charges facing Lance Cpl. Law and Lance Cpl. Salazar-Quintero, and we continue to cooperate fully with the investigative efforts into this matter," Edinburgh said in a statement to USA TODAY.

Last month, Scott Warren of Arizona was arrested on suspicion of aiding a pair of migrants by offering food and shelter — though his actions were not for profit, authorities say. His trial resulted in a hung jury.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Two active-duty Marines accused of smuggling migrants from Mexico 'for financial gain'