Dulles CBP Arrests Alleged Nigerian Heroin Smuggler
STERLING, VA.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers arrested a 61-year-old Nigerian woman Sept. 22, on allegations she internally smuggled heroin to Washington Dulles International Airport.
According to court documents, CBP officers allegedly detected inconsistencies during their interview of Olanrewaju Folashade Halimat after she arrived from Ethiopia. An x-ray confirmed the presence of foreign objects inside Halimat's abdomen. At the time the criminal affidavit was filed, Halimat had passed 47 pellets, weighing approximately 500 grams. A CBP field-test on one pellet proved positive for the presence of heroin.
The 47 heroin pellets had an approximate street value of about $35,000.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia is prosecuting Halimat.
"Heroin is a highly addictive and very dangerous narcotic, and Customs and Border Protection officers are tasked to keep this deadly poison from reaching our community," said Christopher Hess, CBP port director for the Port of Washington, D.C. "CBP employees remain steadfastly committed to keeping our nation and our citizens safe against bad people and bad things that wish us harm."
CBP officers turned Halimat and the heroin over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents. ICE HSI continues investigating.
"ICE HSI agents and CBP officers continue their close collaboration to ensure that drug smugglers are identified and apprehended," said John P. Torres, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Washington, D.C. "ICE HSI is committed to working with our federal, state and local partners to investigate those individuals and organizations that attempt to exploit perceived vulnerabilities at our borders."
Ingesting narcotics pellets for smuggling is a high-risk proposition for the carrier. It can lead to incarceration when they are caught, and lead to an almost certain and painful overdose should a pellet breach inside a carrier's intestines.
CBP routinely conducts random inspection operations on arriving and departing passengers searching for narcotics, currency, weapons and other prohibited or illicit products.
As the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the second largest investigative law enforcement agency in the federal government, ICE's primary mission is to promote homeland security and public safety through the criminal and civil enforcement of federal laws governing border control, customs, trade, and immigration.
The charges and allegations contained in the criminal complaints are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
CBP placed a detainer on Halimat for her to be returned to CBP upon adjudication of her charges.