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Old 02-16-2017, 04:59 PM
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Default Large Shipment Of Narcotic ‘Khat’ from Kenya Intercepted At Philly Airport


Large Shipment Of Narcotic ‘Khat’ Intercepted At Philly Airport
February 16, 2017 2:56 PM By Kristen Johanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Federal agents say for the second time this month, they’ve intercepted a large shipment of an unusual narcotic in Pennsylvania.

During a routine search of incoming shipments at Philadelphia International Airport, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents saw a parcel labelled as herbal hair dye.

“Our officers saw the package, they were a little suspicious of it, they hold it, shake it, feel it, open it up,” said CBP spokesman Stephan Sapp.

Inside, they found nearly 100 pounds of a drug known as Khat.

“It’s a green leafy plant. It’s typically grown in the Arabian Peninsula and it’s generally chewed for it’s stimulant effect,” explained Sapp.

He says the shipment was worth $25,000 and was destined for Georgia.

The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies khat as a “schedule 1 narcotic,” the most restrictive category used by the DEA, when the leaves are freshly picked.

Its principal components, cathine and cathinone, are considered controlled substances in the United States.

“Khat remains illegal to import into the United States, and Customs and Border Protection officers will continue to seize khat when we encounter it,” said Kevin Donohue, Acting CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. “This khat interception is another example of how CBP’s border search authority and inspections expertise contributes to keeping our communities safe.”

Agents stopped a similar shipment earlier this month at the Pittsburgh Airport — a batch hidden under wigs and hair extensions.

It’s kind of unique that we’ve had two seizures of Khat in Pennsylvania, from Kenya,” Sapp said.

Officials say they are continuing their investigation.
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