16 Marines arrested on human smuggling, drug allegations in California

Sixteen Marines were arrested Thursday morning at Camp Pendleton, Calif., on allegations of human smuggling and drug offenses.

The mass arrest by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service occurred during battalion formation. All belong to the 1st Marine Division. Another eight Marines were questioned about their involvement in unrelated alleged drug offenses but not detained.

This comes three weeks after Border Patrol agents arrested two Marines near the U.S.-Mexico border for allegedly smuggling three undocumented immigrants in exchange for money. They also belonged to the 1st Marine Division.

The Marine Corps said information gained from previous investigations led to the mass arrest Thursday.

“1st Marine Division is committed to justice and the rule of law, and we will continue to fully cooperate with NCIS on this matter,” the Marine Corps said in a statement. “Any Marines found to be in connection with these alleged activities will be questioned and handled accordingly with respect to due process.”

None of the Marines questioned or detained are part of the Southwest Border Support mission.

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