SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Three civilian contractors who worked at Camp Pendleton were arraigned in federal court Thursday on charges they stole more than $3 million worth of medical equipment that was to have been shipped to Marine combat commands throughout the world.
Henry Bonilla, 25, Richard Navarro, 39, and Michael Tuisee, 34, made their first appearances in U.S. District Court since being indicted on charges of conspiracy, theft of government property and criminal forfeiture.
According to the six-count indictment, the defendants worked in warehouses run by 1st Medical Logistics Company, or MEDLOG, the unit responsible for maintaining medical equipment and shipping necessary medical items to combat forces.
By virtue of their employment as defense contractors, the defendants had access to sophisticated, expensive medical equipment stored at 1st MEDLOG warehouses.
Prosecutors allege that throughout 2012, the defendants repeatedly stole expensive medical equipment from 1st MEDLOG, transported it using their personal vehicles to other locations in Southern California, and sold the stolen items to medical equipment resellers.
According to the indictment, exchanges with resellers often took place at night, in parking lots near commercial businesses.
Each defendant faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison -- as well as mandatory restitution to the U.S. military -- if convicted.
The defendants will be back in court March 8.
San Diegans and tourists alike headed to the coast to take in all that the first day of fall has to offer.
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