Marines at Camp Pendleton arrested for alleged drug trafficking ring

Marines at Camp Pendleton arrested for alleged drug trafficking ring

| Sep 23, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

In a military town like San Diego, you might not expect to hear that two members of the Marine Corps have been accused of taking part in a scheme to sell opioids illegally. But a grand jury has indicted two Marines on those charges, along with three civilians.

Federal prosecutors claim that one of the Marines, along with three men and one woman, took part in a ring that sold various drugs to Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton. A second Marine was indicted as an accessory after the fact for allegedly trying to prevent the arrest of the other Marine and one of the civilians. Among the drugs the others were accused of trafficking were oxycodone laced with fentanyl, ecstasy, LSD and cocaine.

Overdose death triggered investigation

The investigation into the alleged conspiracy began after a Marine died on May 23. The cause of death was an overdose of fentanyl-laced oxycodone that authorities contend the deceased bought from either one of the civilian defendants or one of the charged Marines. Police later used an undercover agent to allegedly make several drug buys of oxycodone.

Federal drug charges are always serious. Two of the defendants face possible life sentences and a statutory minimum of ten years in prison if convicted. Two others, including the Marine accused of being directly involved in the conspiracy, could be sentenced to up to 20 years. Even the one charged as an accessory could be sent to prison for ten years. That does not include any possible charges the Judge Advocate Division could make against the two Marines.

Federal court is a different experience

Federal charges are a higher level than state-level crimes. There are no such things as federal misdomeanors, so every charge carries heavy prison sentences and other penalties. When choosing a defense attorney, make sure they are experienced litigators who regularly represent clients in federal court.