Camp Pendleton officials identified the Marine Thursday accused of smuggling Chinese citizens through the San Ysidro Port of Entry earlier this month.
Bryan Oneal Newell Jr. was arrested after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers found two women in his car in an alleged smuggling operation to earn him nearly $30,000.
Newell entered into the U.S. through the San Ysidro Port of Entry on Dec. 2 at 1:35 a.m. He was in the Secured Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) lane without prior approval, according to the complaint.
He initially appeared to be the only occupant in a white 2007 Ford Mustang when he stopped for inspection at the border, according to court documents.
During inspection, Newell reportedly presented his driver's license and said he was in Mexico “partying at the strip clubs,” according to a complaint filed on Dec. 3. He said he was on his way to Oceanside.
The CBP officer referred Newell to a secondary inspection “due to no crossing history and non-SENTRI participant,” the documents stated.
While waiting for this second inspection, Newell allegedly called over a CBP officer and asked to leave. The officer asked him to open the hood and trunk of the Mustang, but Newell reportedly refused multiple times.
The CBP officer then found two women hiding in the trunk of the Mustang, according to court records. Agents later identified them as Yajie Liu and Qiaoying Cai, both Chinese citizens without legal permission to be in the U.S., according to the complaint.
Newell was arrested and placed into civilian custody. Liu and Cai were detained as witnesses.
Liu said her family and friends orchestrated her entrance into the U.S. and agreed to pay about $21,300 for the act, according to court documents.
Cai said she made her own arrangements to be smuggled into the country through Mexico, agreeing to pay up to $7,000, according to the complaint.
Both women later said they were headed to New York for work, the records alleged.
Newell asserted his Fifth right to remain silent, according to court documents.
The junior-enlisted Marine serves at Camp Pendleton, the base confirmed to NBC 7 Thursday.
CBP and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service are investigating.