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US Marine accused of breaking into a taxi and assaulting an employee in Okinawa

Chief Kojun Chibana, back center, speaks to guests in 2015 during an award ceremony at the Okinawa City Police Station, Prefectural Police Department, Okinawa City, Okinawa. The ceremony awarded members of the U.S. military, U.S. Department of Defense personnel and the Okinawa City Police Department for their services and assistance in keeping Okinawa safe throughout the year. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Brittany A. James)

A US Marine is facing criminal charges in Japan after being accused of assaulting an Okinawa taxi driver.

Ishikawa Police arrested Lance Corporal Jesus Velezcardona on Friday, less than a mile away from Camp Hansen in Okinawa.

The incident took place at the Kin Taxi Company office, where Velezcardona allegedly infiltrated via an unlocked door.

Velezcardona then choked a 73-year-old man working inside the business, according to law enforcement.

III Marine Expeditionary Force spokesman 1st Lt. Zachary Voss told Stars and Stripes that the USMC is “aware of the incident” and “fully cooperating with Japanese authorities.”

However, Voss would not identify the Marine, unlike the local police.

“Our service members are expected to show respect to the community that we call home,” he wrote. “We take all allegations seriously and hold all service members to a high standard of professionalism.”

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