Puerto Rico soldier accused of smuggling cash

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — FBI agents on Thursday arrested a Puerto Rican U.S. Army reservist accused of smuggling more than $113,000 in cash from Afghanistan and stealing military equipment.

Staff Sgt. Luis Ramon Casellas also was indicted on charges that also include wrongfully obtaining nearly $97,000 in federal overseas housing payments when officials said he had not been paying rent in Puerto Rico.

Authorities said Casellas was deployed to Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan in April 2013. He was the leader of a three-man team ordered to help break down small U.S. bases ahead of troop withdrawals, a job that officials said included collecting government property for future use and selling the remainder for scrap to Afghan contractors.

Casellas is accused of taking some $6,300 worth of equipment, including laptops and radios, and sending it to Puerto Rico, as well as giving some of the items to a team member and telling him he could mail it home to the U.S. territory. Casellas also is accused of mailing the cash to Puerto Rico without declaring it.

It was not immediately clear if Casellas had an attorney.

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