Dulles CBP Arrests Alleged Nigerian Heroin Smuggler
STERLING, VA.—Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers arrested a 54-year-old Nigerian on allegations of internally smuggling heroin at Washington-Dulles International Airport Saturday after the man expelled 97 pellets with a combined weight of 3 pounds, 2 ounces.
According to court documents, CBP officers allegedly detected inconsistencies during their interview of Nigerian Rasheed Adewale Martins after Martins arrived Wednesday from Paris, France. An x-ray confirmed the presence of foreign objects inside Martins' body. Martins eventually passed all 97 thumb-sized pellets through late Friday. The pellets, which reportedly field-tested positive for heroin, have a combined weight of 1431.6 grams and an approximate street value of about $100,000.
CBP officers arrested Martins and turned him and the heroin over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents. ICE HSI is investigating this case.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia is prosecuting Martins.
"This arrest and seizure significantly illustrates how Customs and Border Protection officers blend training and experience with non-intrusive inspection technologies to successfully intercept a narcotics smuggling attempt," said Christopher Hess, CBP port director for the Port of Washington, D.C. "CBP employees take very seriously our mission to protect American citizens against things that could cause our families, friends and neighbors harm, including dangerous narcotics."
"ICE HSI agents and CBP officers continue their close collaboration to stop drug smugglers before they can get their dangerous product into our communities," 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."
Catching internal narcotics smugglers is nothing new for CBP officers at Washington Dulles. Nearly three months ago, CBP officers arrested two Nigerians about a week apart.
Court documents show that based on leads from ICE HSI, CBP officers arrested Edobor Okenwa, 45, of Lagos, Nigeria on March 25 and Yomade Aborishade, 46, also of Lagos on April 3 after each man expelled 88 and 100 pellets of heroin, respectively. The combined weight was about 7 pounds, 15 ounces, and had an approximate street value of about $250,000. Both Nigerians were turned over to ICE HSI agents and are being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
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.
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.