U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers have announced the arrest of a 26-year-old Baltimore resident with more than 6 pounds of heroin hidden in the false bottom of a suitcase.

The seizure was made at Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport on Tuesday, and according the arresting officers, the suspect, Suleiman Zakaria, had just returned from Ghana shortly after 6 p.m. when a roving CBP officer referred him for a secondary examination.

According to weblogs.baltimoresun.com, which published the story, CBP officers routinely staff the passenger arrivals area and randomly select passengers for secondary examinations.

The officers discovered 3.08 kilograms, or six pounds, 13 ounces of heroin hidden in a false bottom of a suitcase Zakaria allegedly possessed. CBP officers also seized $5,980 Zakaria possessed. The heroin has a wholesale value of up to $430,000.

“This seizure significantly illustrates CBP’s multi-layered approach to combating narcotics smuggling in the international passenger environment,” said Stephen Dearborn, CBP Acting Port Director for the Port of Baltimore. “Our officers frequently rely on technology to target smuggling trends and detect concealment methods, but this seizure shows that officer intuition remains one of our most potent enforcement tools.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents took Zakaria into custody.

Similarly in 2007, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers at Detroit Metropolitan Airport detained a 32-year-old U.S. citizen arriving from Accra, Ghana via Amsterdam after discovering approximately 2.25 pounds of heroin in his luggage.

CBP officers encountered Augustine Owusu arriving from his country of birth, Ghana, on a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam Friday. Owusu was traveling alone and claimed to have traveled to Accra, Ghana for 23 days to visit his daughter.

Source: Read 2007 account here.


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