An Egyptian man has pleaded guilty to smuggling at least 100 men from the Middle East into the United States, the government said.

Ashraf Ahmed Abdallah Bashar, 37, admitted to leading a smuggling ring that brought 100 or more men from Middle Eastern countries into the U.S. from April 2001 through January 2002, officials from the Justice Department and the Homeland Security Department said. He pleaded guilty Friday in federal court before Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson.

"Providing persons with unknown backgrounds undetected entry into our country is a threat to national security," said Alice S. Fisher, assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department's Criminal Division.

Abdallah admitted to arranging land transportation and guides into the U.S., as well as layovers at safe houses in Guatemala and Mexico, for up to $8,000, according to plea documents. He told the men how to avoid capture during their journey across the southwestern U.S. border, according to his plea.

Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 24 before U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo M. Urbina.