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3 accused of stealing medical equipment from Camp Pendleton

January 31, 2013 |  4:18 pm

Three men who worked as contract employees at Camp Pendleton were indicted Thursday on charges of stealing more than $3 million in medical equipment that was meant to be shipped to Marine combat units, including those in Afghanistan.

The three were employed as supply clerks at the 1st Medical Logistics Company, which is responsible for storing and shipping medical equipment. They "had access to sophisticated, expensive medical equipment" stored in base warehouses, according to federal prosecutors.

Included in the list of stolen items, according to the indictment, were ultrasound machines, defibrillators, ventilators, a laryngoscopy, and kits for dealing with broken bones - the kinds of equipment used to treat injured or wounded troops.

The equipment, including an autoclave for sterilizing medical instruments, was meant to be shipped to "combat commands throughout the world."

Indicted were Henry Bonilla, 25, of Pomona; Richard Navarro, 39, of Fallbrook; and Michael Tuisse, 34, of Oceanside. Each faces six felony charges of conspiracy and theft of government property, which could bring a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

The indictment charges the three with stealing the equipment and then taking it to medical equipment resellers. The investigation is continuing, said U.S. Atty. Laura Duffy in San Diego.


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Photo: Marines in Afghanistan. Credit: Heidi Vogt / Associated Press