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Online sting reveals clues to missing ammunition, explosives from California Marine base

The Marine Corps seems to be closing in on a group of Marines who allegedly stole then attempted to sell ammunition and explosives from Camp Pendleton, California.

At least five Marines with the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, stationed on Camp Pendleton, California, allegedly stole thousands of rounds of ammo and some explosives, ABC News San Diego first reported.

When one of the Marines attempted to sell online, he was caught in a sting by federal agents, the news outlet reported.

Marine Sgt. Gunnar Naughton, 28, with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, had an Article 32 hearing on March 19 in connection to the missing ammunition, the Marine Corps confirmed.

Article 32 hearings are required to be held before a military defendant can be referred to a general court-martial.

So far Naughton is the only Marine in the battalion in custody for the missing ammunition, according to the Marine Corps.

He was charged with six counts including larceny and obstruction of justice, ABC San Diego reported.

The convening authority still has not made any decision after the Article 32 hearing about which, if any, charges will proceed to a court-martial, 2nd Lt. Kyle McGuire told Marine Corps Times Monday.

At least two more Marines, including Staff Sgt. Anthony Czub, a recon Marine, have been charged in the incident, while a third still unnamed Marine is being investigated but has not been charged.

Czub’s lawyer, Bethany Payton-O’Brien, told ABC 10 that her client’s only connection to the case came from him allowing a Marine to rent a space on his land for a trailer.

“My client is the homeowner or the landowner, the investigators just made the conclusion that he must be involved because he owns the land,” she told ABC 10.

Payton-O’Brien has not yet responded to a Marine Corps Times request for comment.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service confirmed that the investigation was ongoing but did not comment on this specific case.

Camp Pendleton is not the only West Coast Marine base to deal with missing explosives.

In early February it was reported that roughly 10 pounds of C-4 explosives went missing from the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, while the 2nd Marine Division, based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, was training on the base.

The Marine Corps and NCIS confirmed Monday that those explosives were still missing. The investigation is ongoing and at this time no arrests have been made.

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