Camp Pendleton sign
Camp Pendleton gate. File photo

A Camp Pendleton Marine was under investigation Wednesday following his Christmas Day arrest on suspicion of smuggling undocumented Mexican immigrants.

Cpl. Angel Morales Gaitan was arrested around 1 p.m. Saturday during a traffic stop conducted by a Border Patrol agent in Campo, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

According to a federal complaint cited by the paper, a Border Patrol agent initially reported a Kia Optima being driven “suspiciously” in the backcountry of San Diego County. Another Border Patrol agent carried out the traffic stop and found two people trying to hide in the back seat.

Morales was arrested on suspicion of transporting undocumented immigrants, the Union-Tribune reported.

According to the paper, Morales responded to an advertisement on Instagram that offered $1,000 per trip to drivers. Morales told agents was bound for Los Angeles, according to the Union-Tribune.

The two migrants were being held as material witness in the case.

Morales has been in the service since 2017 and is assigned to the 5th Battalion, 11th Marines, the paper reported.

No other information was released.

–City News Service