Video shows 15 US Marines being arrested during formation in connection with a human smuggling ring

Screen_Shot_2019 11 07_at_9_15_42_AMThe San Diego Union-Tribune/YouTubeThe San Diego Union-Tribune/YouTube

  • Newly released video showed 15 US Marines being detained during their formation in Camp Pendleton, San Diego, on July 25.
  • The videos, which were first obtained by The San Diego Union-Tribune, showed the arrested Marines being handcuffed by Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) agents in front of their peers at parade-rest.
  • The Marines were reportedly being investigated as part of a broader human smuggling ring.
  • Attorneys representing two of the Marines told The Union-Tribune that their clients' arrest was a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
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Newly released video showed 15 US Marines being detained during their formation in Camp Pendleton, San Diego, on July 25.

The Marines were reportedly being investigated as part of a broader human smuggling ring. The videos, which were first obtained by The San Diego Union-Tribune, showed the arrested Marines being handcuffed by Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) agents in front of their peers at parade-rest.

Attorneys representing two of the Marines told The Union-Tribune that their clients's arrest was a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, due to what they considered to be a pretrial punishment and unlawful command influence - a term that refers to military leaders abusing their position by influencing the outcome of legal proceedings.

Thirteen lance corporals from the 1st Marine Division were previously reported to have been charged for human smuggling, larceny, drunkenness, and perjury in September.

Two lance corporals were arrested in July after Customs and Border Patrol agents witnessed them "pick up" suspected undocumented immigrants at the nearby resort community of Jacumba Hot Springs, The Union-Tribune reported. The two lance corporals were charged with trying to smuggle three people from the US-Mexico border, which is considered a federal crime.

It was during the investigation into the two lance corporals when investigators found other Marines were also implicated.

According to a 2018 study conducted by the US Sentencing Commission, the average age for a human smuggler in the US was 33, and over 75% of the smugglers were male. Roughly 58% of the smugglers had "little or no prior criminal history," the commission reported. The average sentence for human smugglers is 16 months.

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