NEWARK — Customs agents discovered 18 pounds of heroin with an estimated street value of $512,000 hiding in the false bottom of a man's luggage ad Newark Liberty International Airport, officials said.

On July 17, Customs and Border Protection officers intercepted passenger Alfred Battle, a United States citizen, arriving from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the agency said.

During his examination, officers noticed that his bag was heavier than normal and found it had a false bottom, the agency said. Battle was escorted to a private search room where officers probed his suitcase producing a light brown powder that tested positive for heroin, it said.

“This latest seizure demonstrates the vigilance of our CBP officers, and their excellence in detecting those who attempt to smuggle these illegal substances,” Robert E. Perez, director of field operations for New York said.

Battle was placed under arrest and turned over to the Port Authority Police Department for state prosecution.

Heroin use in New Jersey has been rising for years, with local authorities. In 2014, there were 781 heroin-related overdose deaths in New Jersey, according to data by the state Department of Criminal Justice. That’s more than twice as many as in 2010.

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