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Three civilian contractors appeared in federal court Thursday after allegedly stealing millions of dollars' worth of life-saving medical equipment designated to aid Marines in combat, according to the U.S. Attorney.
Defendants Henry Bonilla, Richard Navarro and Michael Tuisee were working at a Camp Pendleton unit responsible for sending medical equipment
Over $3 million of the "sophisticated and expensive" equipment never made it to those combat zones, said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy.
The defendants are accused of stealing the equipment and selling it to medical equipment resellers. Often, the sales took place at night in commercial parking lots, Duffy said.
“The equipment included ventilators, defibrillators and ultrasound machines,” said Shireen Becker, Assistant U.S. Attorney. “The equipment was meant for troops deployed all over the world, including in the Middle East.”
Duffy said the alleged thefts from the military warehouses occurred over a span of months in 2012.
The three defendants face charges of conspiracy, theft and forfeiture after an investigation. If convicted, they would serve a maximum of 10 years in prison. They would also have to pay the military back for the stolen property.