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Whittier Ex-Marine Accused of Operating Cross-Border Gun-Smuggling Scheme

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A former U.S. Marine from Whittier is facing federal charges alleging he led a six-man scheme to smuggle weapons and ammunition to one of the most feared transnational drug cartels in Mexico, federal prosecutors announced Monday.

Marco Antonio Santillan Valencia, 51, and three other alleged members of the operation were arrested last week in Southern California as part of a federal investigation dubbed Operation Semper Infidelis, a play on the Marines’ famous motto, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In conjunction with the arrests, Los Angeles authorities unsealed a 23-count federal court indictment charging the six defendants with conspiring to violate federal export laws by illegally bringing the weapons and ammunition to cartel operatives in Mexico.


A former U.S. Marine from Whittier is facing federal charges alleging he led a six-man scheme to smuggle weapons and ammunition to one of the most feared transnational drug cartels in Mexico, federal prosecutors announced Monday.

Marco Antonio Santillan Valencia, 51, and three other alleged members of the operation were arrested last week in Southern California as part of a federal investigation dubbed Operation Semper Infidelis, a play on the Marines’ famous motto, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In conjunction with the arrests, Los Angeles authorities unsealed a 23-count federal court indictment charging the six defendants with conspiring to violate federal export laws by illegally bringing the weapons and ammunition to cartel operatives in Mexico.

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