Orlando Airport Passenger Pleads Guilty to Federal Cocaine Distribution Charges
Orlando, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that Barratt Eni (54, Little Rock, Arkansas) today pleaded guilty to possession of more than 500 grams of cocaine with the intent to distribute. Eni faces a mandatory minium penalty of five years up to a maximum of 40 years in federal prison.
According to the facts presented at the change of plea hearing, on July 9, 2011, federal agents contacted Eni at the Orlando International airport (OIA). Eni 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 his person and his carry-on baggage. When the canine positively alerted to the presence of narcotics on Eni's person, agents conducted a pat-down search, but found nothing. When Eni consented to an x-ray of his person, a physician informed agents that Eni had numerous foreign bodies inside of his digestive tract. Eni then voluntarily admitted to swallowing approximately fifty 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 fifty-four 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 was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, and the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert E. Bodnar, Jr.
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