16 American soldiers arrested, especially for smuggling
The US military has announced that it has arrested 16 soldiers from the prestigious Marine Corps on Thursday in California, some of whom have been involved in illegal immigration from Mexico.
The 16 soldiers were arrested in the morning during a rally of their battalion at Camp Pendleton, one of the main US Marine bases located about 100 kilometers north of the Mexican border. the Marine Corps said in a statement.
Information obtained during a smuggling investigation has “precipitated” these arrests, the statement said, citing “various illegal activities ranging from trafficking in human beings to drug use”.
A Marine spokeswoman, Major Kendra Motz, told AFP that the crackdown was made possible by the arrest earlier this month of two Marines accused of illegally crossing the border between Mexico and the United States to undocumented migrants for money.
On 3 July, members of the Marine Corps, Byron Darnell Law II and David Javier Salazar-Quintero, were arrested by a Border Patrol while carrying three undocumented immigrants about 10 kilometers from the Mexican border in Jacumba. California.
In the back of their vehicle, three Mexicans were willing to pay $ 8,000 “to be smuggled into the United States”, although it is unclear to whom they had to pay this money. During their auditions, the two men confessed that they earned between $ 500 and $ 1000 for each trip.
All Marines arrested Thursday are not accused of having participated in the smuggling of migrants, said Commander Motz. Eight other soldiers were questioned about their involvement in drug-related offenses, unrelated to migrant smuggling.
This is not the first case in which soldiers are helping undocumented migrants to enter the United States. Other similar cases were reported in 2014, in 2017 and last year.