Sixteen US Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton in California were arrested on a series of charges ranging from human smuggling to drug-related offenses, according to Fox News, citing officials.
"Information gained from a previous human smuggling investigation precipitated the arrests," USMC officials said in a statement. -Fox News
Additionally, eight more Marines were "taken aside" by investigators who want to know their level of involvement in alleged drug offenses unrelated to Thursday's arrests, according to the report.
"1st Marine Division is committed to justice and the rule of law, and we will continue to fully cooperate with Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) on this matter," reads a statement from officials. "Any Marines found to be in connection with these alleged activities will be questioned and handled accordingly with respect to due process."
This isn't the first human smuggling arrest at Camp Pendleton, where two Marines were taken into custody on suspicion of transporting illegal immigrants for money, according to Fox 5.
Byron Darnell Law II and David Javier Salazar-Quintero were arrested near Jacumba Hot Springs in East County on July 3. Each Marine faces one felony count of seeking monetary compensation for moving unauthorized immigrants into the country after they had crossed the border, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Three unauthorized immigrants were with Law and Salazar-Quintero at the time of their arrest. It was unclear how many other unauthorized immigrants Law and Salazar-Quintero had moved previously, though both men allegedly admitted to their involvement in previous transports and said another person had also been involved in the operations. -Fox 5
According to the complaint, Salazar-Qhintero admitted to picking up immigrants near Jacumba Hot Springs at least four times.