'Barefoot Bandit' Colton Harris-Moore Deported to Miami

Colton Harris-Moore initially faces one federal charge upon arriving in U.S.

ByABC News
July 13, 2010, 1:43 PM

July 13, 2010— -- The "Barefoot Bandit" is back on U.S. soil tonight, after being deported from the Bahamas, where he was caught in a high-speed boat chase.

Colton Harris-Moore pleaded guilty today in a Bahamian court to a relatively minor charge of illegal entry into the country, and then was put on a commercial flight to Miami, accompanied by federal law enforcement officials, The Associated Press reported.

When he arrived in Miami, FBI agents took the 19-year-old to a federal jail. He is scheduled to have an initial court appearance Wednesday, but it is expected that he will be taken to Seattle, where he was indicted.

Instead of the extradition process many expected, he was simply deported though the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Harris-Moore's lawyer in the Bahamas, Monique Gomez, said after the guilty plea that the young man whose alleged two-year crime spree included plane and boat thefts just wanted to go home.

Now a slew of federal officials begin the complicated process of sorting out a lengthy list of crimes that span half the country.

Western District of Washington spokeswoman Emily Langlie told ABC News that Harris-Moore will appear in federal court in Miami, the closest district to where he was apprehended, on a single count of interstate transportation of stolen goods. The charge was filed in December 2009, stemming from an incident in which a plane was stolen from Bonner's Ferry, Idaho, and crashed in Granite Falls.

The judge will decide bond for Harris-Moore, basing it according to his flight risk and danger to the community.

"I think the expectation in any detention hearing is the government will argue that Colton Harris-Moore is a flight risk," Langlie said. "I think he's proven that."

Harris-Moore's highly publicized exploits came to an end Sunday when he was taken into custody by Bahamian police after a high-speed boat chase off Harbor Island. The arrest capped off more than two years on the run in which he achieved a folk hero-type following from tens of thousands of Internet fans, even as he left a growing trail of increasingly brazen crimes in his wake.

His trip the the Bahamas, the FBI said, came aboard a Cessna 400 that was crashed into the shallow waters of the Caribbean several hours after it was stolen from a hangar in Bloomington, Ind.

After appearing in the Miami court, Harris-Moore will be sent to a federal detention center there to await transport to Seattle, with U.S. Marshals as escorts.

Langlie said she expected additional charges against Harris-Moore would be added when federal officials seek a grand jury indictment, but she said her office was still working with other federal districts to inquire about possibly consolidating all the federal charges against Harris-Moore into the Western District of Washington.

Her office is also in contact with local prosecutors, who can decide between working with the U.S. Attorney's Office or proceeding with their own criminal complaints.

The bandit's last moments of freedom on Harbor Island appeared to have been filled with panic.

Kenny Strachan, security director of the Romora Bay Marina where Harris-Moore was taken into custody, told ABCNews.com that he first spotted someone who appeared to be a teenager racing away from the boats toward the exit of the marina. Strachan caught up with him and realized that it was the same person whose face had been plastered all over the Bahamas, fleeing with a gun.

When police learned that Harris-Moore had snaked his way back to the marina and climbed aboard a boat that had the keys left inside, police borrowed a yacht from a marina patron and chased the bandit down.

"Everyone was screaming, 'You're caught. Put down your weapon ... Stop,'" said Jordan Sackett, who helped catch the fugitive. "He proceeded to put the weapon to his head ... saying, 'I'm going to kill myself. ... I won't go back to jail. I can't go back to jail.'"

Police fired on the stolen boat, disabling one engine with a shotgun and the other with a Uzi.

"The FBI told the Bahamian police to stop this guy at any cost," said William Sport, who owned the boat commandeered by police. "The cost is going to be my boat."

As police advanced, Harris-Moore began throwing his possessions overboard, including the gun and a laptop. Both were later recovered by police.

By 3:15 a.m., Harris-Moore was taken off the bullet-ridden boat and into custody.

"He was scared as it was happening but once it calmed down, once the shooting was over ... he was very nonchalant ... like he didn't care it had happened," Sackett said.