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Contraband
02/09/2009

ICE nabs drug swallower at the LMM San Juan airport

Man ingested approximately 96 pellets of heroin

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested a man who attempted to smuggle approximately 96 pellets of heroin in his stomach.

Manuel Brito, 49, of the Dominican Republic, on a flight from the Dominican Republic, was arrested here at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport and charged with possession of controlled substances with the intent to distribute.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspectors referred the Dominican national to a secondary inspection because of his suspicious demeanor and inconsistent answers to routine immigration and customs questions.

Brito consented to an X-Ray examination of his abdominal area and the test yielded positive for heroin.

"It is very sad how unscrupulous drug smugglers put the lives of others at risk for money," said Manuel Oyola Torres, special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations in Puerto Rico. We have the necessary state-of-the-art technology and our inspectors and agents are well trained to detect this type of criminal activity."

Brito is in federal custody and detained at the Metropolitan Detention Center.

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico has accepted this case for prosecution.

If convicted, Brito could face a sentence of five to 40 in prison.

The ICE investigation into this case is ongoing. Brito is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.