Two U.S. Marines were arrested Tuesday on a federal grand jury indictment that alleges the lance corporals were involved in selling drugs to Marines, including to a fellow Marine who died from an overdose.
Lance Cpls. Anthony Ruben Whisenant and Ryan Douglas White were arrested at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego. They were expected to appear later that day in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Neither Marine responded to an email from The Associated Press asking for comment or to be connected to their legal counsel.
Both Marines are from 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division and are accused of being part of a ring of drug dealers that included three civilians, according to the indictment.
Whisenant and three civilians were charged with conspiring to distribute narcotics, including to the Marine who overdosed. White was charged in the indictment with being an accessory after the fact.
From November 2019 to September 2020, members of the group are accused of being involved in multiple sales of fentanyl-laced oxycodone to an undercover agent, for roughly $1,000 or more for each transaction, according to the indictment.
Jordan Nicholas McCormick would obtain drugs, including oxycodone pills containing fentanyl, cocaine and other substances from an unknown source.
Another civilian, Gutavo Jaciel Solis, supplied the drugs for Whisenant's military customers, according to the indictment.
The alleged drug deals took place off the base in the Los Angeles area, NBC 7 learned on Tuesday. The Marine Corps has been cooperating with the probe, which included investigators from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, or NCIS.
On May 22, Whisenant ordered 10 oxycodone pills containing fentanyl from Solis on behalf of the Marine, who died the next day from an overdose, according to the indictment. Whisenant and White met Solis with the Marine to complete the drug deal, according to court records.
White is accused of later trying to interfere with the arrests of Whisenant and Solis.
Solis and another civilian member of the group, Jessica Sarah Perez, were indicted on Aug. 11 on fentanyl and cocaine distribution charges, and Solis was indicted on firearms-related charges. They have pleaded not guilty. Their trial date is scheduled for October 27.
Solis is in federal custody and Perez is free on $25,000 bond. McCormick is also in federal custody. McCormick could not be reached for comment, and it was unclear if he has a lawyer.
Lt. Cameron Edinburgh said the military has been helping with the investigation.
“Our hearts go out to the family, friends, and service members of the Marine who passed away," Edinburgh said in an email. “We will continue to fully cooperate with the civilian authorities on this matter."
White and Whisenant both pleaded not guilty on Tuesday, then were released on bail, with White on a $30,000 bond and Whisenant out on a $50,000 bond. The court also ordered that Whisenant be released into the custody of his parents. They are due back for trial on Nov. 24.