A 24-year-old District Heights man was arrested yesterday on charges of selling heroin after an incident in which he allegedly used a 3-year-old child to hold his drugs, police said.

Michael Eugene Harley, of 6702 Alpine St. in District Heights, was arrested in Southeast Washington following a drug transaction with an undercover agent, police said. The child was standing with Harley outside an apartment building when the agent approached, according to officers, who said the transaction concluded when Harley allegedly retrieved a quantity of heroin from the girl's pants pocket.

Authorities said field tests showed that the girl had more than $400 worth of heroin in her pocket at the time of the arrest.

The incident took place near the corner of Talbert Street and Martin Luther King Avenue SE.

Harley was charged with possession and distribution of narcotics and was being held without bond pending arraignment before a U.S. magistrate. The 3-year-old child was to be turned over to the D.C. police youth division.

Police still were attempting yesterday to locate the girl's parents.

Harley was arrested by agents of a joint Drug Enforcement Administration and D.C. police narcotics task force. A DEA spokesman said undercover agents attempting to serve an arrest warrant on another individual spotted Harley allegedly selling heroin.