Man faces 30 years for immigrant smuggling operation

A Cuban national faces up to 30 years in prison for his part in an immigrant smuggling operation from the Bahamas to the United States.

A U.S. Attorney Office release says 54-year-old Carlos Garcia-Legon pleaded guilty Monday to multiple charges, including 14 counts of encouraging and inducing an alien to come to the country illegally. Sentencing is scheduled for July 10.

Court documents show a U.S. Customs and Border Protection aircraft spotted Garcia-Legon's 25-foot boat near Bimini, Bahamas, in February, and officers watched multiple passengers transfer from another vessel. CBP and U.S. Coast Guard vessels approached Garcia-Legon's boat off the coast of Miami. Following repeated orders to stop, officers fired four shotgun rounds into his engines.

Authorities say Garcia-Legon was transporting 14 passengers from various countries, including China, Jamaica, Sri Lanka and Ecuador.