Illegal immigrants in US Marine uniforms arrested

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Border Patrol agents caught 13 illegal immigrants wearing U.S. Marine uniforms at a border patrol checkpoint east of San Diego, an agency spokesman said Tuesday.

The immigrants were in a white van that was stopped March 14 along Interstate 8, Border Patrol spokesman Michael Jimenez said. The van had a U.S. government license plate with an altered number, Jimenez said. He did not know where the group obtained the military uniforms.

The immigrants all had Marine-style haircuts and the name tag “Perez” on their camouflage uniforms, U.S. Marine Corps officials told the Los Angeles Times.

The van driver and another man, both U.S. citizens, were arrested on suspicion of alien smuggling, the Border Patrol said. Three of the immigrants were being held in federal custody as witnesses and the others were returned to Mexico, their country of origin, Jimenez said.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Border Patrol were conducting a joint investigation of the incident. NCIS spokesman Ed Buice said he couldn’t discuss details, but “there are several obvious questions that need to be answered.”

It’s not known if the two U.S. citizens who were arrested have been in the military, the Border Patrol said.

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