CAMP PENDLETON - Three civilian contractors who worked at Camp Pendleton were arraigned on an indictment charging them with stealing millions of dollars' worth of medical equipment meant to be shipped to combat units around the world, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of California announced Thursday.
25-year-old Henry Bonilla, of Pomona; 39-year-old Richard Navarro, of Fallbrook and 34-year-old Michael Tuisee, of Oceanside made their first court appearance Thursday before Magistrate Judge William McCurine, Jr., U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy said in a news release.
The contractors were arraigned on a six-count indictment charging them with conspiracy, theft of government property and criminal forfeiture. If convicted, each defendant could face up to 10 years in prison as well as restitution.
According to the indictment, the three defendants worked in warehouses on Camp Pendleton run by the 1st Medical Logistics Company, which is responsible for maintaining medical equipment and shipping medical items to combat forces.
"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," Duffy said in the news release.
The indictment said the exchanges with resellers often took place at night in parking lots near commercial businesses. The value of the stolen items was estimated to be more than $3 million.
The defendants' next court appearance is scheduled for March 8.
Duffy said the charges are the result of an ongoing investigation into theft of valuable property on Camp Pendleton. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) at 1-800-264-6485 or by visiting http://www.ncis.navy.mil.