A man who recently flew into Washington Dulles International Airport had swallowed nearly 4 pounds of heroin pellets worth more than $100,000 and is now facing drug trafficking charges, according to federal authorities.
Court documents say 45-year-old Ebodor F. Okenwa arrived at Dulles from Italy on Thursday. Customs and Border Protection officers believed he "was acting nervously and suspiciously" and was carrying anti-diarrheal medicine, an affidavit says.
Okenwa was taken to Reston Hospital Center, where an X-ray revealed pellets in his abdomen. The affidavit says the pellets later tested positive for heroin.
He had swallowed about 88 pellets that weighed a total of 1,700 grams, or 3.7 pounds, court documents say.
The heroin has a street value of about $125,000, according to CBP spokesman Steve Sapp.
That amount of heroin is "consistent with further distribution," Jason McGraw, a Department of Homeland Security special agent, wrote in the affidavit.
Kenneth Troccoli, the federal public defender representing Okenwa, declined to comment on the case.
Okenwa was charged in federal court in Alexandria with attempting to import a controlled substance. The charges were filed Friday, and Okenwa was arrested Monday.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Ivan Davis has ordered that Okenwa remain in custody pending further proceedings. A preliminary hearing and detention hearing in the case are scheduled for Thursday.
Other suspected drug smugglers have been nabbed at Dulles over the past year.
In September, a man admitted that he hid 4 pounds of cocaine inside 21 soup boxes in his luggage. A drug-sniffing dog detected the cocaine, and CBP officers saw a white powdery substance spilling from his luggage when Jose Acevedo flew into Dulles from El Salvador in June.
And in October, Stephen J. Ingle was arrested after authorities said they found cocaine-filled statues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in his luggage as he was making his way from London to Argentina. He pleaded guilty in December.
By: Emily Babay
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