The US Marines charged with assisting human smuggling ring have begun attending their first hearings, according to the US Marine Corps and Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
An NCIS agest testified that the Navy has not found any evidence that the Marines partook in human smuggling firsthand, though the investigation remains ongoing.
13 Marines face allegations of distribution of LSD, stealing smoke grenades and conspiring or aiding in the smuggling of undocumented or illegal immigrants.
An Article 32 hearing -a required event that precedes a general court martial- has been held for Corporal Trenton Elliot, who was charged with transportation of unauthorized immigrants and conspiracy to transport unauthorized immigrants.
All the Marines are being tried separately and should have their hearings held one by one in the near future, but a complete schedule has not been released yet, 1st Lt. Cameron Edinburgh, a Marine Corps spokesman, told Marine Corps Times.
Two of the Marines, Lance Cpl. Byron Darnell Law II and Lance Cpl. David Javier Salazar-Quintero, were arrested by Border Patrol Agents July 3, about 7 miles from the border with three illegal immigrants in the back seat.
According to the Marine Corps Times, the case for the Marines arrested at the battalion formation seems to be on thin ice after a military judge ruled the mass-arrest was an example of unlawful command influence.
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