SAN DIEGO - The leader of a smuggling organization who with others arranged to send a panga boat carrying 23 illegal aliens from Mexico to a beach in Del Mar was sentenced today to nearly 13 years in federal prison.
Carlos Gomez-Garcia was also ordered to pay $180,000 in criminal forfeiture, the amount of money paid by some of the aliens he smuggled into the United States.
Gomez-Garcia pleaded guilty earlier to conspiring to bring in illegal aliens for financial gain and assisting the entry into the United States of an aggravated felon.
According to the plea agreement, Gomez-Garcia was the leader of a smuggling organization and helped more than 100 aliens enter the United States illegally.
Gomez-Garcia traveled to the beach in Del Mar Aug. 10 to establish a landing point for the panga boat, prosecutors said.
The next day, other co-conspirators piloted the boat from Mexico into U.S. waters, where they were apprehended.
U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw sentenced Gomez-Garcia's live-in girlfriend, Monica Lopez, to 18 months behind bars March 3.
Eight members of the Gomez-Garcia's alien smuggling organization have pleaded guilty.