A Marine charged with
stealing war prizes and classified documents will have his
case heard today at Camp Pendleton, not far from where he
allegedly stored some of his booty.
Gunnery Sgt. Gary Maziarz is accused of taking computer
and camera equipment, secret government information and a
variety of weapons, including three pistols that former
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had apparently received as
gifts. Authorities say Maziarz accumulated about 100 Iraqi
and U.S. government weapons in all.
He also is charged with possession of steroids.
Maziarz allegedly kept the stolen items in a Carlsbad
apartment and in storage units he rented in Carlsbad and
Manassas, Va. Military investigators discovered them while
searching the sites late last year.
The developments began in October when a Camp Pendleton
colonel said a large amount of U.S. government trophy
weapons obtained during the Iraq war had gone missing. An
internal investigation eventually focused on Maziarz, who
had done intelligence work in Fallujah, Iraq, participated
in a National Security Agency program and had access to
federal documents categorized as “top secret” or even more
Maziarz is being held at Camp Pendleton. If convicted,
he could spend several years in prison and be discharged
from the Marine Corps.
Marine Maj. Beth Harvey and civilian attorney David
Brahms are defending Maziarz at today's pretrial session,
known as an Article 32 hearing.
“In my business, it is truth that counts,” Brahms said.
“It's our intention to make the government meet its burden
of proof. It's my belief that they will not be able to
meet that high burden.”
Camp Pendleton officials, Marine prosecutors and agents
with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service declined to
comment on the case.
During their probe, the investigators searched storage
units that Maziarz rented in Carlsbad and Manassas. They
reported finding gold-colored Russian Dragunov sniper
rifles, gold-colored and nickel-plated AK-47s, four Iraqi
swords, radios with Arabic writing, foreign military
helmets, Iraqi plaques, digital cameras, computers and
some 250 pages of surveillance data on a suspected
Their haul also included two locked briefcases, a
government record book, government maps, ammunition, body
armor and military-issued supplies such as canteens and
Authorities also went through an apartment that Maziarz
had rented in Carlsbad. There, they allegedly uncovered
steroids and Hussein's three commemorative Colt 1911
Records show that Maziarz lived in Centreville and
Fairfax County in Virginia from about 2000 to 2003 before
moving to La Jolla and then Carlsbad.
Investigators visited Unit 228 of the Manassas storage
facility at least three times, said its manager, Ernie
Five days before their first search, they brought a
German shepherd that “sniffed around” the
10-foot-by-15-foot unit. More than a dozen investigators
were on hand for the third visit, Jennison said.
Maziarz stood out because he was the only military
member who rented space at the storage facility, Jennison
An Article 32 hearing loosely resembles a grand jury
proceeding. Prosecutors and defense attorneys present
evidence to an investigating officer, who acts as a judge
by weighing the arguments and recommending whether the
defendant should proceed to court-martial.
A senior Marine officer will then decide whether
Maziarz should face court-martial and on what charges.
Rick Rogers: (760)