Sterling, Va. - Customs and Border Protection officers arrested a Hazleton, Pa., man and seized nearly 10 pounds of heroin, worth an estimated $315,000, allegedly concealed inside the lining of sporting pants Saturday night at Washington-Dulles International Airport.
CBP officers arrested Elias Casiano, 29, and turned him over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia is prosecuting Casiano.
Casiano was referred to a secondary inspection after arriving from Bolivia. According to court documents, CBP officers discovered 27 plastic-wrapped packages of a brown, powdery substance that field-tested positive for heroin.
The heroin, which weighed a combined 4,459 grams, or a little more than 9 pounds, 13 ounces, was allegedly concealed inside stitched inner linings of four pairs of sporting pants and two pairs of sports shorts, and also wrapped inside a sports team banner.
"Customs and Border Protection officers take very seriously our mission to intercept illicit narcotics at our nation's borders before the deadly poison can harm our families, friends or neighbors," said Christopher Hess, CBP port director for the Port of Washington. "Any day that we can remove 12 pounds of dangerous narcotics from circulation is a good day."
"Public safety is one of ICE's major priorities and we will continue working closely with CBP and our federal partners to stop drug smuggling operations that use our airports to bring their illicit products into the U.S.," said ICE HSI special agent in charge of the Washington field office John P. Torres.
CBP routinely conducts random inspection operations on arriving and departing international passengers and intercepts narcotics, currency, weapons and other prohibited or illicit products.
The charges and allegations contained in 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.