ORLANDO, Fla. - An Arkansas man pleaded guilty Thursday to possession of more than 500 grams of cocaine with the intent to distribute, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation (MBI).
Barratt Eni, 54, Little Rock, Ark., faces a mandatory five to 40 years in federal prison.
On July 9, federal agents contacted Eni at the Orlando International Airport. He was a scheduled passenger on a trans-Atlantic flight to London.
Eni freely spoke with the agents and permitted a trained narcotics detection canine to inspect him and his carry-on baggage. When the canine positively alerted to the presence of narcotics on Eni, agents conducted a pat-down search, but found nothing.
When Eni consented to an x-ray of his body, a physician informed agents that Eni had numerous foreign bodies inside his digestive tract. Eni then voluntarily admitted to swallowing approximately 50 pellets containing a narcotic before flying into the Orlando airport.
Eni, a naturalized citizen of the United States from Nigeria, stated that he was returning to Nigeria to attend his brother's funeral. He said that a man had offered to help pay for the funeral, but that Eni was supposed to transport drugs back to Nigeria for him in return.
Eni underwent emergency surgery to remove a total of 54 pellets from his digestive tract. A laboratory subsequently determined that the substance in these pellets was cocaine hydrochloride with a net weight of 804.28 grams. The quantity of cocaine, the packaging and the method of concealment are consistent with cocaine distribution.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert E. Bodnar, Jr.