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Harris-Moore pleads guilty to entering Bahamas illegally, being deported to U.S.; could face trial in Seattle first

AP NEWS VIDEO:Colton Harris-Moore shows up for court in Nassau, Bahamas.

Colton Harris-Moore pleaded guilty Tuesday to a charge of entering the Bahamas illegally, and is scheduled to be deported to the United States.

Numerous news agencies report that the U.S. Embassy in Nassau will pay the $300 fine he received, clearing the way for his return to the U.S. for trial. Harris-Moore, 19, of Camano Island is suspected of committing burglaries and thefts in several states, British Columbia and the Bahamas over a two-year period before his arrest Sunday by Royal Bahamian Police.

Emily Langlie, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle, said Tuesday that Harris-Moore will likely face a hearing in Miami upon his arrival in the U.S., and then will be returned to Seattle because it was the federal warrant filed by the U.S. Attorney here that led to his arrest in the Bahamas.

After a detention hearing, Harris-Moore will likely be held in the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac, Langlie said. At the detention hearing, the U.S. Attorney will argue that Harris-Moore is a flight risk and should be kept in custody through trial, she said.

San Juan County Sheriff Bill Cumming, whose department pursued the elusive suspect off and on for two years, called Harris-Moore's guilty plea in the Bahamas "an interesting turn of events." He said he expected Harris-Moore would be prosecuted first by the U.S., which has a warrant out for the teen burglary suspect for interstate transport of stolen property. That charges stems from Harris-Moore's alleged theft of a plane in Idaho, which he is believed to have crash-landed in Washington. He is also accused of stealing an airplane in Indiana and flying it to the Bahamas.

Cumming said that because of the number of jurisdictions involved, the federal government may seek to consolidate the cases.

"I'm sure part of that will involve discussions with all the agencies to see really what is the most efficient way to hold him accountable," he said. "Every jurisdiction has an issue with victims. Our job, with law enforcement, is to make sure the victims are compensated for their losses, and take a look at how are they going to be compensated. We want to make sure he's held accountable and make sure the victims are appropriately compensated."

Where victims were compensated by insurance companies, the companies could be those seeking reimbursement, Cumming said.

Cumming said his department has "enough evidence for conviction" in about "a half dozen" cases in San Juan County. "We have an active search warrant and we have not stopped our investigations. We're waiting for returns on physical evidence."

ONLINE:Yahoo News.

SeattlePI.com.

The Seattle Times.

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