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Narcotics
08/16/2012

Nigerian arrested at Houston airport after allegedly ingesting heroin pellets

HOUSTON — A Nigerian man was arrested and charged Friday for allegedly ingesting 65 pellets totaling about one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of heroin, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas. This investigation is being conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Sunday Okechukwu Ogbonu, 47, a citizen of Nigeria, arrived at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston Aug. 10 aboard Emirates flight 211 from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Ogbonu's itinerary indicated he had traveled from Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Nigeria to Dubai International Airport seven days earlier. He had a scheduled return flight to Nigeria Aug. 25 via Dubai.

Ogbonu was arrested Aug. 10 after CBP officers observed questionable behavior and believed he may be an internal drug courier. He gave written consent to be taken to a medical facility for an X-ray, which revealed multiple pellets containing an unknown substance and completely filled his stomach and intestines. He later expelled a pellet, the contents of which field tested positive for the presence of heroin.

Ogbonu remained under the care of medical professionals until he had passed all the pellets from his digestive tract; then he was medically discharged. He is expected to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Johnson Aug. 16.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bertram Isaacs, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting the case.

A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.