U.S. Marine Accused of Smuggling Migrants for $1K

MISSION, TX - APRIL 11: A U.S. Border Patrol agent handcuffs an undocumented immigrant near the U.S.-Mexico border on April 11, 2013 near Mission, Texas. A group of 16 immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador said they crossed the Rio Grande River from Mexico into Texas during the morning hours …
John Moore/Getty

Federal prosecutors in California charged an active duty U.S. Marine for allegedly transporting illegal immigrants for financial gain. Smugglers allegedly offered the Marine a fee of $1,000 to transport the migrants.

On July 3, a San Diego Sector Border Patrol agent observed a black car picking up what they believed to be illegal aliens at a known pickup spot near Interstate 8 in southern California. The agent relayed the vehicle’s description to other agents patrolling in the area. Another agent observed the vehicle matching the description and pulled the driver over, according to a criminal complaint provided to Breitbart News by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Border Patrol agent told prosecutors the traffic stop occurred approximately seven miles north of the California-Mexico border and 20 miles east of the Tecate Port of Entry. During an immigration interview, the agent identified the driver as Byron Darnell Law II, a U.S. citizen. He also identified the front seat passenger as David Javier Salazar-Quintero, a U.S. citizen. In the back seat, the agent identified three passengers as citizens of Mexico who are illegally in the U.S.

The agents took Law, Salazar, and the three migrants into custody.

Border Patrol agents said they advised Law of his Miranda Rights and he agreed to speak with them without an attorney. Law told the investigating agent that he is an active duty Marine assigned to Camp Pendleton. He told the agent that Salazar organized the alleged smuggling event, according to the criminal complaint. He reportedly told the agent that Salazar contacted him and asked him if he would be willing to make a trip to pick up the illegal immigrants for a fee of $1,000.

Law continued, explaining that on July 2, Salazar was in communication with a spotter who coordinated the meeting between Law and a Mexican national being smuggled, the complaint continues. In the first event, they picked up a single migrant and drove him to a McDonald’s parking lot in Del Mar, California, Law continued. They met with another person who took custody of the person being smuggled.

On July 3, Salazar again allegedly coordinated between Law and a spotter to set up a rendezvous near the Jacumba Hot Springs exit on Interstate 8. They eventually met up with three illegal immigrants who entered Law’s vehicle before the traffic stop leading to their arrest, the complaint states.

Salazar, after receiving his Maranda Rights, also agree to speak with investigators, the complaint continues. Salazar allegedly claims that Law introduced him to human smuggling and took him to a recruiter who drove the vehicle described at the McDonald’s meeting on July 2. He allegedly told the investigator that he traveled to Jacumba on four separate occasions.

The Mexican nationals being smuggled during the arrest told the Border Patrol agent they agreed to pay $8,000 for being smuggled into the U.S. They listed their destinations as New Jersey and Los Angeles. All three identified Law as the driver of the smuggling vehicle, the complaint concludes.

Law and Salazar face charges under Title 8, U.S.C. § 1324. If convicted on the charges, each could face up to ten years in federal prison.

Breitbart News reached out to the Department of Defense for information about Law’s military duties. An immediate response was not available.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for the Breitbart Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

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