Khat is not a drug you commonly hear about in the United States, but apparently it is one you'll be hearing about a lot more in the near future, considering Ohio State Troopers just seized 240 lbs worth during a traffic stop.
Ohio State Troopers say they stopped a vehicle in Upper Sandusky in Wyandot County this week, and what they would find inside was shocking.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Troopers seized $48,987 worth of Khat in a Wyandot County traffic stop on July 27.<br>Read more: <a href="https://t.co/DR6R2EabwZ">https://t.co/DR6R2EabwZ</a> <a href="https://t.co/ZJ2CqYI9sb">pic.twitter.com/ZJ2CqYI9sb</a></p>— Ohio State Patrol (@OSHP) <a href="https://twitter.com/OSHP/status/891029257757102080">July 28, 2017</a></blockquote>
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Law enforcement say that when they pulled over 19 year old Jesse Naim, and 20 year old Christian Reivera-Ittayem, both from Michigan; the pair were acting incredibly suspicious.
The Highway Patrol said they then called out a drug-sniffing canine from the Upper Sandusky Police Department, which later alerted them to something hiding inside the SUV. That’s when troopers performed a thorough search and found the khat, worth more than $48,000.00 in total, something that is rarely to never seen in the region.
Both of the suspects were then arrested,before being taken to the Wyandot County Jail, and charged with possession of khat and trafficking in drugs.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, khat is a specific flowering shrub native to East Africa and the Arabian-Peninsula. It’s used in its native regions as a recreational drug that creates euphoric effects. The leaves and shoots of the plant are chewed, then kept the cheek, like chewing tobacco.
Khat contains the alkaloid cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant, which is said to cause excitement, loss of appetite, and euphoria. In 1980, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified it as a drug of abuse that can produce psychological dependence, although the WHO does not consider khat addiction to be seriously problematic.
The plant has been targeted by anti-drug organizations such as the DEA. It is a controlled substance in some countries, such as Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States (de facto), while its production, sale, and consumption are legal in other nations, including Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia and Yemen.
Consumption of the plant's leaves in its natural state is also permitted in Israel. Among communities from the areas where the plant is native, khat chewing has a history as a social custom dating back thousands of years.