Home News Marine Corps releases charges against 13 Marines in alleged migrant smuggling

Marine Corps releases charges against 13 Marines in alleged migrant smuggling

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U.S. Border Patrol Agents, including members of U.S. Border Patrol’s BORSTAR teams (in tactical uniforms) provide food, water and medical screening to scores of migrants at a processing center after crossing the international border between the United States and Mexico in El Paso, Texas, March 22, 2019. Large groups of immigrants most often surrender to border patrol agents immediately after arriving on U.S. soil. U.S. Customs and Border Protection photo by Mani Albrecht

Thirteen Marines serving at Camp Pendleton will face various charges relating to alleged human smuggling in an upcoming preliminary hearing at the base, Marine Corps officials announced.

The Marines, all lance corporals, have been formally charged for violations under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and will face military court proceedings, 1st Lt. Cameron Edinburgh, a spokeswoman with the 1st Marine Division, said Monday.

Several face general smuggling charges of transport or conspiring to transport, while others faces charges of perjury, drunkenness, larceny or failing to obey an order, Edinburgh said. All are junior enlisted Marines.

The charges stem from an investigation that began in July after two Marines with the 1st Battalion/5th Marines were arrested on July 3 by Border Patrol agents on suspicion of transporting three Mexican migrants into the United States for financial gain.

In the following weeks, several more Marines and a sailor were taken into custody at Camp Pendleton while Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents looked into the case – some were later released.

A preliminary hearing officer will determine if any of the charges will go forward to a court-martial. The date of that preliminary hearing has not be released.

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