2 Marines Arrested, Accused of Smuggling Undocumented Immigrants from Mexico

U.S. Marines install concertina wire on Friday as pedestrians leave the United States for Mexico at the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
U.S. Marines install concertina wire on Friday as pedestrians leave the United States for Mexico at the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

This article by Paul Szoldra originally appeared on Task & Purpose, a digital news and culture publication dedicated to military and veterans issues.

Two Marine infantrymen were pulled over and arrested by U.S. Border Patrol on July 3 -- along with three undocumented immigrants in the backseat -- as they were allegedly trying to make a quick buck shuttling people from Mexico into the United States, according to a federal court complaint first reported by Quartz.

Lance Cpl. Byron Darnell Law II and Lance Cpl. David Javier Salazar-Quintero, both assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment at Camp Pendleton, now face charges of "transportation of certain aliens for financial gain."

According to the complaint, Law told Border Patrol that he was an active-duty Marine and dimed out Salazar-Quintero as the organizer of the smuggling operation. "Law stated that last night, Salazar called and asked him if he was willing to make $1000.00 USD picking up an illegal alien," the complaint said.

On July 2nd, Law said they both traveled to Jacumba, California while being guided "via cell phone instructions from an Unknown Mexico number," the complaint said. They then picked up a single immigrant and brought him to a McDonald's parking lot in Del Mar, it continued.

The next day, Law said Salazar called him for another job. This time, they both went to the same area and picked up "three illegal aliens" off the I-8 freeway.

Salazar, meanwhile, said Law introduced him to smuggling through a recruiter. Salazar also admitted to coming to Jacumba to pick up undocumented immigrants on four different occasions, the complaint said.

The three immigrants who were arrested identified Law as the driver of the car that picked them up. Two of them said they were going to pay $8,000 to be smuggled into the U.S.

"We are aware of the charges facing Lance Cpl. Law and Lance Cpl. Salazar-Quintero, and we continue to cooperate fully with the investigative efforts into this matter," Marine spokesman 1st Lt. Cameron Edinburgh told Task & Purpose.

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