13 U.S. Marines charged amid human smuggling probe
A U.S. Marine supervises as other Marines install razor wire next to the U.S.-Mexico border fence on December 2, 2018 as seen from Tijuana, Mexico. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images
13 U.S. Marines face charges including failure to obey orders, perjury, drunkenness, larceny and endangerment after being detained in July in a human smuggling probe, L.A. Times reports.
Catch up quick: 5 of the Marines "were charged with having direct involvement in the human smuggling conspiracy," a 1st Marine Division spokesperson told the L.A. Times. None of the 13 Marines charged were reportedly involved in "overall" U.S.-Mexico border support missions, the Marines told L.A. Times.
- "The investigation into the human smuggling ring started after two Marines were arrested after picking up at least three unauthorized immigrants near Jacumba Hot Springs on July 3, authorities said," L.A. Times reports.
Background: Human smuggling involves supplying a service — such as transportation or false documents — to a person who "voluntarily seeks to gain illegal entry into a foreign country," according to ICE and the Department and Homeland Security.
- "It is possible the crime may start out as human smuggling but quickly turn into human trafficking," the agencies say.