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Immigration

Thirteen Marines Charged with Smuggling Illegal Immigrants into U.S.

New bollard-style fencing next to vehicle barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border in Santa Teresa, N.M., March 5, 2019. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

The Marine Corps has charged 13 members with smuggling illegal immigrants into the U.S., in addition to a range of other offenses including failure to obey an order, drunkenness, endangerment, larceny, and perjury, according to a statement released Friday.

Lance Corporals Byron Law and David Salazar-Quintero were specifically charged with transporting illegal immigrants into the country for financial gain. The two were based in Camp Pendleton, located between San Diego and Los Angeles, Calif.

The other marines included in the indictments, some of whom were charged with distributing cocaine and LSD, were not named.

Law and Salazar-Quintero were pulled over by Border Patrol agents seven miles north of the U.S.–Mexico border after picking up three migrants who had just crossed the border illegally, according to a federal complaint filed in July and first reported by Quartz. Law was found in the driver’s seat with Salazar-Quintero on the passenger side, along with three undocumented immigrants in the back seat.

The three were reportedly found to be Mexican citizens without documents needed to enter the U.S. legally. Two of the immigrants told agents they planned on paying $8,000 to their smugglers.

During his interrogation, Law told investigators that Salazar-Quintero had suggested they pick up an illegal immigrant to make $1,000. They then succeeded in bringing one person into the U.S. but weren’t paid for their endeavor, and so decided to smuggle more people and receive pay for the total number of people they brought in.

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