Barkhad Abdi, 'Captain Phillips' Star, Detained by Customs Over Criminal Past

Image: Barkhad Abdi, 'Captain Phillips' Star, Detained by Customs Over Criminal Past

Tuesday, 25 Mar 2014 02:12 PM

By Ken Mandel

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Barkhad Abdi, the Oscar-nominated actor who starred as a Somali pirate in "Captain Phillips," reportedly has a criminal past that caused U.S. customs officials to detain and question him briefly last month when he was traveling.

According to the Star Tribune, the 28-year-old actor was stopped as he was returning to the U.S. Feb. 17 after traveling to the U.K. to accept a BAFTA (the British equivalent of an Oscar) for Best Supporting Actor in the Tom Hanks movie. Abdi, a permanent legal resident in the U.S., was reportedly flagged for past criminal offenses.

Abdi's criminal history is relatively minor. In 2012, he was arrested in Iowa for possession of marijuana and khat, though the charges were later dropped. He was also picked up once on suspicion of credit card fraud in Minnesota and North Dakota.

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The chances of deportation are considered unlikely, but the actor may possibly be required to attend a U.S. Customs and Border Protection hearing this week for what is known as a "deferred inspection," according to

Abdi was born in Somali but moved to Minnesota at age 14. Last week, he was introduced as the spokesman for Minnesota's new health insurance exchange, MNsure, which recently launched a final push to sign up so-called "young invincibles" by the March 31 deadline for open enrollment.

The Minnesota Twins also announced Monday that Abdi would throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the team's home opener on April 2.

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