Soldier charged with smuggling to change plea

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A U.S. Army officer facing federal charges of smuggling more than $100,000 out of Iraq during a deployment there is ready to change his plea from not guilty.

The attorney for Maj. Charles E. Sublett said Monday the soldier is set to change his plea "pursuant to an agreement with the government."

But neither attorney Michael Stengel nor the U.S. Attorney's Office in Memphis will divulge what the new plea will be, or what the agreement entails.

Sublett, of Huntsville, Ala., was indicted in January on charges of bulk cash smuggling and making a false statement. He is scheduled to change his plea in a federal court hearing set for July 7.

Sublett reviewed and approved supplies contracts while serving at the Balad Regional Contracting Center in Iraq between August 2004 and February 2005. The center was located at Camp Anaconda, about 50 miles north of Baghdad.
According to the indictment, the disbursement office where he worked provided payment in sequentially numbered $100 bills.

In January 2005, customs officials in Memphis intercepted a package containing almost $108,000 in sequentially numbered $100 bills and more than 17 million Iraqi dinar, then worth about $11,600, that Sublett sent from Balad to Killeen, Texas, the indictment said.

Sublett faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted. He would also have to forfeit the money if convicted of the bulk smuggling charge.

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