Philadelphia - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested a Nigerian man at Philadelphia International Airport on Saturday after the passenger passed 67 thumb-sized pellets of heroin weighing about 2 pounds, 11 ounces.
CBP officers turned Clement Agbapu, 36, and the heroin, which has an estimated street value of about $86,000, over to Pennsylvania State Police.
"Internal concealment is difficult to detect, so that's why we continually train Customs and Border Protection officers in the art of interviewing passengers," said Allan Martocci, CBP port director for the area port of Philadelphia. "It is hugely satisfying when that training results in the prosecution of an alleged heroin smuggler and the destruction of his deadly poison."
Agbapu arrived from Nigeria at about 2:30 p.m. Friday after a short layover in the United Kingdom. A CBP officer referred Agbapu to a secondary interview.
During that interview, CBP officers detected inconsistencies in Agbapu's answers to routine questioning. Officers then discovered Agbapu's stomach to be distended. Agbapu consented to an x-ray at a local hospital.
The x-ray confirmed the presence of anomalies, and by 9:45 a.m. Saturday, Agbapu passed 67 thumb-sized pellets that field-tested positive for heroin.
Ingesting narcotics is perhaps the deadliest narcotics concealment method. Internal carriers are known to die a very painful death when pellets have breached inside their intestines.
"Internally smuggling illicit narcotics is extremely dangerous and guaranteed fatal if a pellet breaches inside the carrier," said Martocci. "Narcotics networks consider mules to be nothing more than disposable lives. They care less about the person than they do their deadly poison."
CBP routinely conducts random inspection operations on arriving and departing passengers searching for narcotics, currency, weapons and other prohibited or illicit products.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.