Thursday 24 January 2019

Carer smuggled 14,000 cigs, court told

A CARE assistant for the elderly caught bringing 14,000 eastern European cigarettes in her luggage through Dublin airport was taking them to her Lithuanian family in Ireland, a court heard.

Aiste Aganova (25) was arrested and held in custody after the haul was discovered by customs and excise officers at the airport. Dublin District Court heard she had brought the cigarettes from Kiev and travelled through Frankfurt before being caught.

Judge Miriam Malone adjourned the case for documentation proving her background to be produced.

Aganova, with an address at Dusnelius, Lithuania, pleaded guilty to evasion of duty, under the Finance Act, at the airport on January 26.

The court heard she was stopped in the airport's baggage hall. The cigarettes were in two bags she was carrying as well as a third left unclaimed on the luggage carousel.

The cigarettes had a total value of more than €5,000, and the excise would have been more than €3,000. The packets all bore Ukrainian tax stamps.

The court heard the defendant was working and living in Frankfurt and had travelled through that city from Kiev in the Ukraine. She had spent two days in Mountjoy Jail's Dochas Centre following her arrest and had been "very upset about the whole thing", her solicitor said.

She had been bringing the cigarettes to her family in Mullingar, he explained.

"The only thing she really wants to do is go home," he said.

Judge Malone said she would consider dealing with the case by way of a suspended sentence but insisted on seeing evidence of the defendant's job in Frankfurt. She also wanted to see a return airline ticket.

"I have to see documentation, I don't know anything about this lady", Judge Malone said.

The accused's solicitor said she might not be able to buy a ticket without her passport, which was being held by gardai.

The judge said she was sure arrangements could be made and remanded the defendant on continuing bail, to appear in court again on February 9.


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