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Contractor gets prison, fine for smuggling cash

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- A private contractor from Kansas has received a 30-month sentence for trying to smuggle $150,000 from Afghanistan back to his ex-wife, in a case the government claims was part of a larger kickback scheme.

The U.S. attorney's office says Army veteran Donald Gene Garst was also fined about $52,000 at his sentencing Tuesday in federal court in Topeka.

Garst pleaded guilty in November to one count of bulk cash smuggling, but he has recanted an earlier admission that the money came from a kickback scheme to steer subcontracts to an Afghan company.

Instead, Garst says he won the money gambling at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, where he worked as a manager for a U.S. firm from 2009 to 2011.