Marine assigned to Camp Pendleton arrested on suspicion of human smuggling on Christmas Day

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A Camp Pendleton sign is shown in a file photo. (KSWB)

A Camp Pendleton sign is shown in a file photo. (KSWB)

A Camp Pendleton Marine was arrested on suspicion of smuggling immigrants into the San Diego backcountry on Christmas Day, according to a federal complaint filed Monday.

Angel Morales Gaitan, a Marine assigned to Camp Pendleton, was arrested just after 1 p.m. Saturday in Campo. A Border Patrol agent in an unmarked car said a Kia Optima was driving “suspiciously,” and its driver appeared to not know where he was going, the complaint states.

The agent called for a marked car to make a traffic stop, and two people were found in the car’s backseat apparently trying to hide, the complaint states. Morales was arrested on suspicion of transportation of undocumented immigrants.

Morales told law enforcement he was hired after responding to an advertisement on Instagram for drivers, offering $1,000 per trip, the complaint says. He told agents he was to drive the couple to Los Angeles.

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