CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Sixteen U.S. Marines were arrested Thursday for allegations ranging from human smuggling to drug-related offenses, according to a statement from the Marine Corps.
The arrests took place in dramatic fashion during a battalion formation on Thursday morning at Camp Pendleton.
“That includes around 800 Marines. At that time, NCIS came to the area and pulled those 16 Marines out and they were arrested at that point," said Maj. Kendra Motz.
The news comes after two Pendleton Marines were arrested on July 3 on suspicion of illegally smuggling people into the country for money. In that case, the two Marines were pulled over near the border with three undocumented immigrants in the backseat.
“As those investigations were ongoing, they identified the identities of these 16 Marines as potentially being associated with or connected with those particular allegations for first two Marines," said Motz.
Officials said Thursday's operation was the result of an investigation involving the 1st Marine Division and Naval Criminal Investigative Service. "None of the Marines arrested or detained for questioning served in support of the Southwest Border Support mission," the statement added.
Eight other Marines were also questioned on their involvement in alleged drug offenses unrelated to today's arrests, the Marine Corps said.