Three video clips by Marine Corps public affairs personnel showing the arrest of 15 Marines accused of human smuggling have been obtained by the San Diego Union-Tribune.
On July 25, agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and other military law enforcement arrested what the Marines said were members of a human smuggling ring in their midst.
Those arrests followed the July 3 arrest of two lance corporals from the same unit. Border Patrol agents said they saw the two Marines pick up suspected unauthorized immigrants near Jacumba Hot Springs, Calif.
On Wednesday, the Union-Tribune first reported the existence of the video, which a 1st Marine Division spokesman confirmed was taken by personnel from the communication strategy office.
A spokesman for the 1st Marine Division, 1st Lt. Cameron Edinburgh, said in an email Wednesday that the division would not be releasing the video, saying it was for “official use only.”
“The video was filmed as a way to document the detainments that took place on July 25, 2019 in an unbiased, non-editorialized manner,” Edinburgh said. “To protect the rights of the accused, the video has not been released by the government to the public, nor do we intend to release it at this time.”
Attorneys for two of those arrested said the arrests, conducted in front of 800 fellow Marines, amounted to pretrial punishment and unlawful command influence, both of which violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
In total, 13 Marines were charged with human smuggling and conspiracy. The Marines have redacted their names from the charge sheets.
Dyer writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.