- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Nigerian man is in custody for allegedly attempting to smuggle three pounds of heroin in his stomach through Washington Dulles International Airport, U.S. customs and border protection officials said Wednesday.

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 the airport June 8, said agency spokesman Steve Sapp.

Mr. Martins passed all 97 pellets. which tested positive for heroin, by late Friday night. The street value for the 1431.6 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. Martin is 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 passed 88 heroin pellets and on April 3, Yomade Aborishade, 46, was arrested once he passed 100 pellets of heroin.

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. He may ask you questions in a different form to detect any suspicious activity,” Mr. Sapp said.

Mr. Sapp said that often the people smuggling drugs “are coming from poverty and they’re not connected to a drug organizations. “They’re a target of opportunity and they pay get paid a couple thousand dollars; maybe a little bit more, maybe a little bit less,” he said.

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

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