16 Marines arrested at Camp Pendleton on suspicion of human smuggling, drug-related offenses

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (KABC) -- Sixteen Marines were arrested Thursday morning at Camp Pendleton on suspicion of "illegal activities ranging from human smuggling to drug-related offenses," the U.S. Marine Corps announced.

The suspects were taken into custody during a battalion formation at the military base in San Diego County, and eight other Marines were "taken aside" for questioning in connection with drug offenses unrelated to the arrests, a news release said.

According to the statement, information gained after two Marines were arrested on human smuggling charges earlier this summer led to the arrests.

None of the arrested or detained suspects served in support of the Marines' mission at the U.S.-Mexico border, the military said.

"1st Marine Division is committed to justice and the rule of law, and we will continue to fully cooperate with NCIS on this matter," the news release said, referring to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. "Any Marines found to be in connection with these alleged activities will be questioned and handled accordingly with respect to due process."

Earlier this month, two Marines were charged after allegedly trying to smuggle undocumented immigrants for "financial gain," according to court documents from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

ABC News contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.