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Hazleton man arrested at airport on heroin smuggling allegations

Published December 23. 2011 05:01PM

STERLING, Va. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested a Hazleton man and seized nearly 10 pounds of heroin, worth an estimated $315,000, allegedly concealed inside the lining of sporting pants last Saturday night at Washington-Dulles International Airport.

CBP officers arrested Elias Casiano, 29, and turned him over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia is prosecuting Casiano.

Casiano was referred to a secondary inspection after arriving from Bolivia. According to court documents, CBP officers discovered 27 plastic-wrapped packages of a brown, powdery substance that field-tested positive for heroin.

The heroin, which weighed a combined 4,459 grams, or a little more than 9 pounds, 13 ounces, was allegedly concealed inside stitched inner linings of four pairs of sporting pants and two pairs of sports shorts, and also wrapped inside a sports team banner.

"Customs and Border Protection officers take very seriously our mission to intercept illicit narcotics at our nation's borders before the deadly poison can harm our families, friends or neighbors," said Christopher Hess, CBP Port Director for the Port of Washington. "Any day that we can remove 12 pounds of dangerous narcotics from circulation is a good day."

CBP routinely conducts random inspection operations on arriving and departing international passengers and intercepts narcotics, currency, weapons and other prohibited or illicit products.

The charges and allegations contained in criminal complaints are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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