Police seized 43 pounds of Khat, an East African and southern Arabian stimulant drug inbound from France to an address on the west side of Chicago.

The U.S Department of Homeland Security intercepted the package, addressed to the 2600 block of West 15th Street in Chicago, earlier in November, the Cook County sheriff’s office told The Chicago Tribune.

The U.S Department of Homeland Security allowed the package to be sent to O’Hare International Airport, where sheriff’s investigators delivered it to the address, police said. A cab driver, Hassan Khalif-Mohamud, accepted the package at a BP gas station. After he paid an undercover investigator $150 for delivering the package, he was taken into custody.

Khalif- Mohamud was held without bond for violating his probation on a 2010 charge of possession of a controlled substance.

Because Khat contains the chemical cathinone, similar to amphetamine, the U.S. government considers its use illegal. Chewing Khat leaves encourages a state of euphoria and elation as well as feelings of increased alertness and arousal.

As many as 10 million people worldwide chew khat, which has been part of the established cultural tradition in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula for centuries.


Brittany Buchanan

Special to the AFRO