An Eritrean suspect appeared in a federal court in Washington Monday to hear charges against him of human smuggling.
The United States has indicted Habtom Merhay on 15 counts of illegally smuggling migrants into the U.S. for profit. He was arrested in Morocco last year.
Most of the migrants were Eritrean or Ethiopian.
Federal prosecutors accuse him of charging as much as $15,000 each to bring the migrants from the United Arab Emirates, into Central and South America, and across the border into the United States.
The indictment says Merhay allegedly worked with a network of human smugglers in Africa, the UAE and Latin America.