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Aug. 16, 2012

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Nigerian Arrested at IAH After Allegedly Ingesting Dozens of Heroin Pellets

HOUSTON – A 47-year-old Nigerian man has been arrested and charged as a result of his alleged ingestion of 65 pellets containing approximately one kilogram of heroin, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

The criminal complaint filed Monday, Aug. 13, indicates that on Aug. 10, 2012, Sunday Okechukwu Ogbonu, a citizen of Nigeria, arrived at Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston 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 in the United Arab Emirates seven days prior. He was scheduled to return to Nigeria, by way of Dubai, departing Houston Aug. 25, 2012.
Ogbonu was arrested Aug. 10, 2012, after Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers observed questionable behavior of Ogbonu and believed him to be an internal drug courier. He gave written consent to be taken to a medical facility for an x-ray, which allegedly revealed multiple pellets containing an unknown substance completely filling his stomach and intestines. He later expelled a pellet, the contents of which field tested positive for the presence of heroin. 

“This apprehension is an example of the commitment of CBP officers to disrupting alleged illegal activity that could pose a devastating threat to the American public,” said Jeffrey O. Baldwin Sr., CBP director of Houston Field Operations.

Ogbonu remained under the care of medical professionals until he had passed all foreign bodies from his digestive tract and was medically discharged. He is expected to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Johnson at 2:00 p.m. today. 

The case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and CBP and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Bertram Isaacs.