16 Marines Arrested on Charges Including Human Smuggling and Drugs: Officials

July 25, 2019 Updated: July 25, 2019

Sixteen U.S. Marines were arrested on a litany of charges, ranging from human smuggling to drugs, according to officials.

According to a Marines press release on July 25, officials from the 1st Marine Division worked along U.S. Navy investigators to make the arrests on Thursday morning at Camp Pendleton, California.

“The 16 Marines were arrested for alleged involvement in various illegal activities ranging from human smuggling to drug-related offenses. Information gained from a previous human smuggling investigation precipitated the arrests,” the 1st Marine Division said. “An additional 8 Marines were taken aside to be questioned on their involvement in alleged drug offenses unrelated to today’s arrests.”

A spokesman with the 1st Marine Division told ABC News that an investigation into two Marines charged with human smuggling earlier in July “identified the allegations” against the new suspects.

The report said that the Marines were all low-ranking enlisted males.

The “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 statement said. “Any Marines found to be in connection with these alleged activities will be questioned and handled accordingly with respect to due process.”

The Marines said that none of the soldiers who were arrested on Thursday were part of the Department of Defense’s troop deployment along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Two Camp Pendleton-based Marines were arrested on July 3 for allegedly transporting illegal immigrants for money, reported FOX5.

The Marines were identified as Byron Darnell Law II and David Javier Salazar-Quintero. They were arrested in east San Diego County, facing one felony county of seeking monetary compensation for moving unauthorized immigrants into the country, reported the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Marine Arrested in Nebraska

In an unrelated case, military authorities say a detained Marine was found with firearms, a silencer, body armor, and ammunition in his pickup truck when he tried to enter an Air Force base near Omaha.

Omaha World-Herald reports that Pfc. Ali Al-Kazahg is charged with carrying a concealed weapon, communicating threats, and other crimes.

It’s unclear whether he has an attorney. A Marine Corps spokesman says 22-year-old Al-Kazahg is in custody in Hawaii, where he’s assigned to the 3rd Marine Logistics Group.

Authorities say Al-Kazahg was on leave when he was stopped at an Offutt Air Force Base gate of May 31. Guards had spotted his name on a law enforcement notice of people considered capable of doing harm. The notice says he told another Marine that he would “shoot up” his battalion if he were disciplined for misconduct.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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