LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Sixteen U.S. Marines were arrested at Camp Pendleton in northern San Diego County Thursday morning as part of a human smuggling investigation.
The arrests conducted by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and 1st Marine Division took place during a battalion formation, the Marine Corps announced in a statement.
The suspects face various charges ranging from human smuggling to drug crimes, the Marine Corps said. The arrests were prompted by information obtained during a previous human smuggling investigation.
“None of the Marines arrested or detained for questioning served in support of the Southwest Border Support mission,” the statement read.
The suspects were not identified.
All the accused come from the same battalion. The first two arrests came earlier this month, officials said. The two were allegedly caught in the act of picking up three undocumented immigrants from Mexico.
According to court documents, the three migrants told investigators they were paying $8,000 to be smuggled to Los Angeles or New Jersey. One of the Marines told authorities he was expecting to make $1,000 for his role in the operations. One of the suspects said he’d made similar pickups previously.
Authorities said more arrests are expected.
Inside the corps, there is concern that misconduct might be even more widespread.
Eight other Marines were being questioned on unrelated drug offenses, the agency said.
And in yet another case, CBS News reports 22 Navy SEALs — an entire platoon — have been sent home from Iraq following a drunken July 4th party. Drinking alcohol is against regulations in Iraq, moreover, officials said the behavior resulted in allegations of a sexual assault.
A tweet from the commander of special ops said the platoon’s commander lost confidence in the team’s ability to accomplish their mission.
A separate investigation found that several members of a SEAL team allegedly used cocaine last year while stationed in Virginia.