REGION: Man admits human smuggling

Friday, July 1, 2011 5:12 pm

A man who admitted smuggling illegal immigrants into the United States ---- including arranging for some of them to come ashore in Del Mar last summer ---- was sentenced Friday to 12 1/2 years in federal prison, authorities said.

Carlos Gomez-Garcia was also ordered to pay $180,000, which represents the amount of money paid by some of the people he smuggled into the United States, the U.S. attorney's office in San Diego announced.

As part of his plea agreement, Gomez-Garcia admitted he was the leader of a smuggling organization and had helped more than 100 illegal immigrants enter the United States.

He admitted arranging for a panga boat containing 23 Mexicans ---- one of whom was a felon ---- to land at a beach in Del Mar.

In March, Gomez-Garcia's live-in girlfriend, Monica Lopez, was sentenced to serve 18 months and ordered to pay $6,000.

In all, eight members of Gomez-Garcia's organization have pleaded guilty to smuggling illegal immigrants, the U.S. attorney's office said.

Call staff writer Teri Figueroa at 760-740-5442. ... z1QxpRBIzc