Ruling threatens smuggling cases against Marines

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Marine Corps is at risk of losing numerous cases against Marines accused in a human smuggling and drug investigation after a military judge ruled it was illegal to make the videotaped arrests during a morning battalion formation.

Maj. Kendra Motz says prosecutors at Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego, were meeting Tuesday to explore their options. Motz says she did not know what they were considering.

The judge gave prosecutors until Nov. 25 to offer a remedy the situation.

When ruling Friday, Marine Col. Stephen Keane said apparently the rights of the accused were violated when the Marine Corps arrested them during a formation July 25 and accused them in front of the other troops. He called it unlawful command influence.

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A total of 13 Marines have been charged.

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