Barkhad Abdi to meet with customs agents over criminal history - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Barkhad Abdi to meet with customs agents over criminal history

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

He's an Oscar-nominated actor, the new face of MNsure and arguably the biggest star in Minnesota's Somali community -- but Barkhad Abdi recently ran into travel trouble due to troubles in his past.

On Tuesday, Abdi will meet with Customs and Border Patrol for what's known as a "deferred inspection" because the actor was recently detained at the airport over his criminal record.

Just last week, Abdi was introduced as the new spokesman for Minnesota's health insurance exchange -- but the actor himself was curiously quiet. His agent told the press that he was too tired to speak to the media, but it seems that there may have also been subjects he didn't want to talk about.

On Feb. 17, Abdi flew into the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport from London. Just one day after he won the British Film Award for best supporting actor for his breakthrough role in "Captain Phillips," he was detained by customs agents at Terminal 1.

Abdi is a "permanent resident," which means his status is different than that of a U.S. citizen -- and sources tell Fox 9 News that if he wasn't a resident alien, he would have been barred from entering the U.S. because of his rap sheet.

His criminal record includes a drug possession arrest that took place two years ago in Iowa, but the charges levied against him for marijuana and khat were later dropped.

A decade ago, Abdi was linked to a theft case in South Dakota, and he was convicted of credit card fraud in Minnesota in 2005. A year earlier, he was accused of giving false information to police, and has half a dozen traffic violations -- all misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors.

A British tabloid first revealed Abdi's criminal past a few months ago, and Abdi later gave the Daily Beast his only comment, saying, "I look at that time and think, 'It made me who I am now.' Our mistakes shape us. I made mistakes to satisfy certain friends and to be cool, and I took the consequences."

As far as customs is concerned, those consequences include a check-in interview. The agency won't comment on specific cases; however, people entering the country generally must demonstrate that they are admissible.

Of course, Abdi is hardly the first actor to have had a run-in with the law. In fact, the only thing Hollywood loves better than someone who goes from a limo driver to an Oscar contender is a man who learns from and owns his past.

Meanwhile, the honors keep coming. On Monday, the Minnesota Twins announced Abdi will throw out the first pitch at the home opener on April 7.

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