July 9 (UPI) -- Two U.S. Marines in Southern California have been accused of accepting cash payments to transport undocumented immigrants along the U.S.-Mexico border.
U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested Cpl. Byron Law II and Cpl. David Salazar-Quintero in San Diego County last week. Authorities said they were caught transporting three undocumented aliens on Interstate 8 on the U.S. side of the border.
The three immigrants, officials said, agreed to pay the Marines to get to Los Angeles. Each admitted to being citizens of Mexico without proper legal documents to enter the United States.
Border Patrol agents said they spotted the Marines' vehicle stopped on a highway seven miles north of the border, and later saw footprints in that area, leading them to suspect they'd picked up the migrants there. The vehicle was later stopped and the Marines arrested.
Law admitted that he and Salazar-Quintero regularly transported migrants for money, officials said, and that Salazar-Quintero admitted to doing so on four occasions. The pair are stationed at nearby Camp Pendleton.
A Marine Corps spokesperson said military commanders are aware of the charges and have pledged to cooperate with the investigation.
Law and Salazar-Quintero, enlisted in 2017, were members of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment and have been awarded National Defense and Global War on Terrorism service medals.