Sixteen U.S. Marines have been arrested on human smuggling and drug-related offenses at a base in Southern California, military officials said.
The Marines were taken into custody at Camp Pendleton on Thursday morning during battalion formation. Eight other Marines were taken aside for questioning about their possible involvement in the drug offenses as well, the Marine Corps said in a statement. Officials did not give further details about the allegations.
The arrests were “a public display for the entire unit to see,” 1st Lt. Cameron Edinburgh, a division spokesman, told The Los Angeles Times.
The arrests are related to information officials say they gained from a previous human smuggling investigation, the Marine Corps said.
Though officials did not specify which investigation, earlier this month two other Camp Pendleton Marines were charged with transporting unauthorized immigrants along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Those two Marines, Byron Darnell Law II and David Javier Salazar-Quintero, are accused of carrying out the trips for financial gain, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
“Any Marines found to be in connection with these alleged activities will be questioned and handled accordingly with respect to due process,” the Marine Corps said.