Sixteen U.S. Marines were arrested Thursday on a raft of charges including human smuggling and drug-related offenses, the U.S. Marine Corps said.
The Marines were arrested at Camp Pendleton, California, one of the largest Marine Corps bases in the U.S., during a battalion formation Thursday morning, a spokesman said in a press release. Officials from the 1st Marine Division and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, or NCIS, carried out the arrests.
The arrests were precipitated by information gathered from a previous human smuggling investigation, the press release said.
Eight other Marines were also questioned Thursday on unrelated alleged drug offenses.
"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 Marines said in the press release.
"Any Marines found to be in connection with these alleged activities will be questioned and handled accordingly with respect to due process."
Thursday's arrests came just a few weeks after two Marines from the same California military base were arrested on suspicion of smuggling immigrants across the U.S.-Mexico border into San Diego County, NBC News reported at the time.
Those Marines, Byron Law II and David Salazar-Quintero, were pulled over July 3 in a black car carrying three people who claimed they were undocumented Mexican immigrants, according to NBC. Two of those passengers reportedly claimed they were going to pay $8,000 to be smuggled into the U.S., and planned to travel to New Jersey and Los Angeles.