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Nigerian man passes 3 lbs. of heroin, arrested at Dulles

Tuesday - 6/14/2011, 4:12pm  ET

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Authorities recovered 97 pellets of heroin with a combined weight of 3 pounds, 2 ounces at Dulles International Airport. (Photo Courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
Alicia Lozano, wtop.com

STERLING, Va. -- A 54-year-old Nigerian man was arrested Saturday after allegedly smuggling 97 heroin pellets into Dulles International Airport.

Customs and Border Protection officers say they were tipped off by inconsistencies in Rasheed Adewale Martins' story while he was being interviewed at the airport. An X-ray revealed that he had foreign objects inside his body.

After several days of ingesting laxatives, Martins passed more than 3 pounds of heroin.

The pellets have a combined street value of about $100,000, officials say.

"CBP employees take very serious our mission to protect American citizens against things that could cause our families, friends and neighbors harm, including dangerous narcotics," Christopher Hess, CBP director for D.C., says in a statement.

Last week's incident is the most recent in a series of heroin-related arrests.

Nigerian-born Edobor Okenwa, 45, was apprehended on March 25 after attempting to internally smuggle 88 pellets of the narcotic. Another Nigerian, 46-year-old Yomade Aborishade, was arrested for bringing in 100 pellets just one week later.

The combined weight of both heroin busts was 7 pounds, 15 ounces with a street value of about $250,000.

Steve Sapp, a spokesman for CBP, says Immigration and Customs Enforcement is looking into the three incidents, including a possible connection between them.

They're not ready to call the arrests a pattern, however.

"Does Customs and Border Protection consider this to be a problem? I don't know that three instances over several months constitutes a problem," he says. "But we will continue to investigate."

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)