Fayetteville, N.C. — A former Fort Bragg soldier was sentenced Monday for her role in smuggling more than $1 million into the United States from Afghanistan, where she was deployed.
Tonya Long, 30, of Fayetteville, was ordered to serve five years in prison, followed by three years of probation, on charges of bulk cash smuggling and aiding and abetting, U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker said. She also was ordered to pay $1 million in restitution.
Long was an Army staff sergeant assigned to the 189th Combat Sustainment Battalion, attached to the 7th Special Forces Group. She was in Afghanistan from January 2008 to April 2009.
Long worked as a customs inspector during her deployment, inspecting the personal property of military service members that was loaded into containers for shipment back to the U.S.
Prosecutors said Long helped another service member in the scheme by stripping the components out of VCR players and hiding cash inside. She then cleared the containers through customs.
Prosecutors said neither Long nor her co-conspirator declared the currency when they entered the U.S. as required by law.
“Tonya Long betrayed her team and while other soldiers were fighting for our country, she was stealing money intended to support the mission,” Walker said. “Her conduct undermined her fellow soldiers and our nation’s reputation.”
He said Long spent nearly $500,000 on herself and her family. Her purchases included a car, surgeries, a vacation and an 18-wheel tractor-trailer.