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Nigerian charged in smuggling of heroin into D.C.

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A Nigerian man was arrested at Washington Dulles International Airport on charges that he smuggled 3 pounds of heroin in his stomach, Customs and Border Protection officials say.

Rasheed Adewale Martins, 54, was carrying the equivalent of "24 or 25 hot dogs" in large pellets that he swallowed before making the trip from Paris to Virginia, said agency spokesman Steve Sapp.

Mr. Martins "passed" all 97 pellets, which tested positive for heroin, by late Friday night, authorities said. The street value for the 1,431.6 grams was estimated at $100,000.

Not a standard "little pill, four of these pellets laid end to end were about the size of a hot dog," Mr. Sapp said.

Mr. Martins was the third Nigerian man to be arrested at Dulles in as many months for acting as an "internal carrier."

On March 25, Edobor Okenwa, 45, of Lagos, Nigeria, was arrested after he was smuggling 88 heroin pellets, authorities said. On April 3, Yomade Aborishade, 46, was arrested for smuggling 100 pellets of heroin, they said.

Mr. Martins was stopped by officers last week for "inconsistencies" in his answers at the airport's customs line, Mr. Sapp said.

The job of the customs booth operator is to "talk to you and ask you questions," Mr. Sapp said. "He may ask you questions in a different form to detect any suspicious activity."

He said that often the people smuggling drugs "are coming from poverty," and they're not connected to a drug organization.

"They're a target of opportunity, and they get paid a couple thousand dollars - maybe a little bit more, maybe a little bit less," he said.

Customs officials found the pellets after conducting an X-ray of Mr. Martins, to which he consented after being questioned a second time about his travel.

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