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Contractor appeals sentence for cash smuggling

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- A private contractor from Kansas is appealing his sentence for trying to smuggle $150,000 from Afghanistan to his ex-wife in the U.S. in what the government contends was part of a larger kickback scheme.

The attorney for Donald Gene Garst filed a notice of appeal Tuesday from the court order accepting the guilty plea. He is also appealing last week's prison sentence of 2 1/2 years and more than $52,000 fine.

Garst pleaded guilty in November to one count of bulk cash smuggling for trying to ship the undeclared cash in a DHL box from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

Garst has recanted an earlier statement that the money came from a kickback scheme to steer subcontracts to an Afghan company. He now claims he won the money gambling.