Former soldier sentenced for smuggling $1M in cash from Afghanistan

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Authorities say a former soldier helped smuggle $1 million from Afghanistan, then spent her share on items such as personal surgeries and a tractor-trailer.

U.S. Attorney Thomas Walker says 30-year-old Tonya Long of Fayetteville was sentenced Monday in federal court in Elizabeth City to five years behind bars and ordered to pay $1 million in restitution.

Long was convicted of bulk cash smuggling and aiding and abetting the same crime in what authorities called a double-billing kickback scheme.

Court records show the Fort Bragg-based soldier was in Afghanistan from January 2008 to April 2009. She inspected troops' personal property before it loaded into containers for shipment to the United States.

Authorities say Long concealed the money in videocassette recorders. They say she worked with an unnamed co-conspirator.