Minnesota Vikings placekicker Donald Igwebuike was indicted by a federal grand jury Friday on charges of smuggling heroin from his native Nigeria into the United States.
Igwebuike, who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for five years before signing with the Vikings this year, was charged with plotting to smuggle heroin, conspiracy to import with intent to distribute and the importation of heroin.Igwebuike, 29, was expected to turn himself in to authorities.
Investigators say the smuggling activities allegedly occurred while Igwebuike was playing with the Buccaneers and living in Tampa. The native of Anambra, Nigeria, was drafted by Tampa Bay in the 10th round in 1985.
Another Nigerian native, Ibezim Ofedu, charged in the heroin-trafficking ring pleaded innocent to similar charges in October in Tampa.
Last month, ABC News, citing unidentified sources, reported Igwebuike purchased a plane ticket for a co-defendant, Maduwuba Ibekwe, and participated in phone conversations that showed he knew of the drug deal.
Ibekwe, 31, was arrested at Orlando International Airport Oct. 11. U.S. Customs Service officials allege Ibekwe tried to smuggle more than 31/2 ounces of heroin in pellets wrapped in electrical tape he had swallowed.
Both men are reported acquintances of Igewebuike.