A Nigeria national identified as Samuel Onyemenam, 50, was stopped while carrying luggage as he entered the UK from Germany with a lot of uncleared cigarettes in his box.
Border Force officers x-rayed three of the suitcases and found that two of them were filled with 83,600 cigarettes, which would have carried duty worth £28,000.
Onyemenam, of Abbey Wood, London, was arrested and pleaded guilty to fraudulently evading duty when he appeared in the dock this week.
Onyemenam arrived at Newcastle International Airport on a flight from Nigeria via Germany on November 26 last year, Newcastle Magistrates' Court heard.
'He had three suitcases with him,' Rob Lawson, prosecuting said. 'Border Force officers informed him that they were going to X-ray his suitcases and two were found to contain a large quantity of cigarettes, 83,600. The duty evaded was £28,530.17.'
Onyemenam claimed that he had been transporting the cigarettes for his cousin and had made no financial gain from the scheme.
Paul Kennedy, defending, said Onyemenam, who has no past convictions, stood by his claim that he was transporting for his cousin and made no financial gain.
Mr. Kennedy continued: 'It was an opportunistic, one-off offence.'
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