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Dad who smuggled €9k of cigarettes avoids jail

A MAN has received a two-year suspended sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for smuggling 28,900 cigarettes worth over €9,000 into Ireland.

Arthur Stendera (49) was fined €200 for a similar offence involving 9,000 cigarettes just over a year before his latest excise duty evasion.

Stendera, a father-of-three of Churchfield, Clane, Co Kildare, pleaded guilty to evasion of excise duty at Dublin Airport on October 21, 2006.

Ms Anne Mooney, a Dublin Airport customs officer, said Stendera claimed he was intending to sell the cigarettes to friends to raise money for dental treatment in Ireland.

Colm O'Briain, prosecuting, outlined to the judge that she could impose the greater fine of either €10,000 or three times the amount of the items. Sean O Siothchain, defending, submitted to Judge Ryan that she could reduce the fine in mitigating circumstances but told her his client was on disability allowance with no means at present to pay any money back.