Marines Caught Selling Body Armor on EBay
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|A civilian and several Marines have been convicted on charges connected to an operation that stole ballistic vests and other gear from Camp Pendleton and sold it on the Internet, authorities said.|
The investigation unfolded amid widespread criticism that U.S. troops in war zones lacked body armor.
Civilian Erika Jardine was sentenced Wednesday to six months in prison in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania. She pleaded guilty in November to one count of exporting arms without a license and one count of selling stolen U.S. government property.
Prosecutors said Jardine sold stolen light ceramic plates designed for use inside vests at a time when there were shortages of the plates in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Jardine, who had no previous connection to Pendleton, offered to buy surplus equipment in an ad she placed in a base newspaper, said Dean Boyd, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Authorities said several Marines, acting independently of each other, sold the stolen equipment to Jardine.
"Someone told her this was a way to potentially make some money," he said.
An ongoing investigation at Camp Pendleton by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service has identified 12 Marines and several civilians as suspects, Homeland Security said. A total of nine people, both civilians and Marines, have been arrested.