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I Marine Expeditionary Force

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Drugs and Ammo, MPs Track AQI in Nineweh

By Gunnery Sgt. Donald A. Duell | | November 14, 2008

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The Marines here celebrated the first day of the Corps’ 234th year by taking one more weapon out of insurgent hands.

The military police of MP detachment, Combat Logistics Company 19, 1st Marine Logistics Group discovered a small weapons cache in an abandoned town just one kilometer west of Camp Sinjar Nov. 11.

The cache consisted of an AK-47, a flare gun, ammunition for the AK and ammunition for a Dragonov sniper rifle. There was no Draganov sniper rifle onsite.

The Marines also found numerous papers with Arabic writing, a bag full of syringes, and vials containing an unknown liquid. Marines suspect that the papers may be possible intelligence on the enemy and that the liquid could be some kind of amphetamine, but investigators have yet to make any conclusions.

“There were new locks on the doors, so we kicked them in and found a weapons cache,” said 1st Lt. Jared B. Justice, camp guard officer in charge, MP detachment.

Justice, 24, Topsham, Maine, took his Marines on a patrol of the same town a few days prior to the find. One patrol was not enough to ensure security of the camp, said Justice, so the Marines planned to return soon.

“(We) have to hit up the same buildings again, see if anything’s changed, or if there was any movement since we left,” said Sgt. Michael S. Vasquez, squad leader, MP detachment. Vasquez, 26, Austin, Texas, said even though the patrol led to a find, the Marines will continue periodically checking on the town.

“Even though there might not be an insurgent presence in the area once, doesn’t mean they won’t try to use it later,” Vasquez said. “We denied the insurgents from being able to use those weapons, or we denied the individual meaning to sell them to insurgents, and we protected the local populace and ourselves by doing that.”

Vasquez, Justice and other Marines in MP detachment make up one part of the first Marine Air Ground Task Force outside Anbar in Iraq since 2004. They traveled to the Nineweh province to kick off Operation Defeat Al Qaeda in the North II, an operation aimed at stamping out the insurgency just west of the restive city of Mosul.
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