Camp Pendleton Marines arrested for smuggling unauthorized immigrants

JACUMBA HOT SPRINGS, Calif. — Two Camp Pendleton Marines were arrested by United States Border Patrol agents on July 3 for illegally transporting unauthorized immigrants for money, according to a federal complaint.

Byron Darnell Law II and David Javier Salazar-Quintero were arrested near Jacumba Hot Springs in East County on July 3. Each Marine faces one felony count of seeking monetary compensation for moving unauthorized immigrants into the country after they had crossed the border, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Three unauthorized immigrants were with Law and Salazar-Quintero at the time of their arrest. It was unclear how many other unauthorized immigrants Law and Salazar-Quintero had moved previously, though both men allegedly admitted to their involvement in previous transports and said another person had also been involved in the operations.

A federal complaint filed on July 5 said a border patrol agent was following footprints he suspected belonged to people who had crossed the border illegally at about 10 a.m. on July 3 when he saw a small black car parked in an area where the footprints were headed. The car left the area soon after, but another border patrol agent was able to stop the car after it had merged onto Interstate 8.

Law was driving the car at the time it was pulled over and Salazar-Quintero was in the passenger seat. The three people in the backseat said they did not have documentation with them that allowed them to enter the United States. The two Marines and the three unauthorized immigrants were arrested shortly after 10:15 a.m.

According to the filed complaint, Salazar-Quintero admitted to using the area near Jacumba Hot Springs as a pickup location four times. He also told officers that he was the one who had organized the pickup on July 3.

The unauthorized immigrants said they had paid $8,000 to be smuggled into the U.S. Salazar-Quintero said he expected to be paid $500 for one of the pickups, but it was unclear if or how much he had been paid for that transport and others.

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