Another Marine was arrested at the border for allegedly smuggling undocumented immigrants


Marines with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment hold security in the Garmsir district, Afghanistan on Feb. 11, 2012.

(U.S. Marine Corps/Cpl. Reece Lodder)

A junior-enlisted Marine with Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division was arrested Monday at the California border with Mexico for allegedly transporting illegal immigrants into the states.

The arrest took place at the San Ysidro point of entry, bordering San Diego and Tijuana, and the Marine was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel, 1st Lt. Cameron Edinburgh, a spokesman with 1st Marine Division told Task & Purpose.

The Marine, whose name has not been revealed, is currently in the custody of civilian law enforcement, and both Customs and Border Protection and Naval Criminal Investigation Services are investigating. The Marine did not serve with the Southwest Border Support Mission, Edinburgh told Task & Purpose.

"At about 1:30 a.m. on December 2, a 20-year-old man arrived at the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego, driving a white 2007 Ford Mustang," a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson told Task & Purpose. "The CBP officer referred the car and driver aside for a more intensive inspection. In the secondary inspection area, CBP officers opened the trunk of the car to find two women hidden inside, both Chinese nationals with no legal status to enter the United States. The driver, who officers identified as a Marine, stationed out of Camp Pendelton just north of San Diego, was arrested and is expected to face federal charges."

NCIS declined to comment for this story.

This incident is the latest to involve the arrest of a Camp Pendleton-based Marine over allegations of smuggling people across the border. The most public occurred on July 23, when 16 Marines, all serving in units under the 1st Marine Division, were taken into custody during a mass arrest conducted during a battalion formation on July 23.

In total, 23 Marines with the 1st Marine Division were detained in July on charges that ranged from human trafficking to drug distribution, and weapons charges. At least one involved a Marine accused of distributing LSD on base.

To date, six have pleaded guilty to charges at court-martials, and 13 "have submitted and have approved pre-trial agreements requesting separation in lieu of courts-martial or waiving administrative separation boards," Edinburgh told Task & Purpose.

The remaining four are still in legal proceedings.

UPDATE: 12/4/19; This article has been updated with new information from Customs and Border Protection.

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