On March 1, 2013 Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Indianapolis FedEx facility discovered a shipment of khat during a routine inspection of international air freight arriving from Great Britain. During examination, bundles of the illegal narcotic khat were discovered concealed within the computer housing components. The shipment of 122.83 pounds of khat was destined for a city in Wisconsin. No arrests have been made at this time; however, the information has been shared with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
“Khat is a very perishable illegal amphetamine-like stimulant that is classified as a Schedule IV drug under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act,” said William A. Ferrara, acting director of CBP Chicago field operations. “The CBP officers working in the international air freight environment are experts at locating shipments containing a variety of contraband that is illegal in this country and harmful to U.S. citizens.”
Khat (pronounced “cot”) is found in Eastern Africa and southern Arabia. Like tobacco, this green leafy plant substance is chewed for its stimulant effect which causes a state of euphoria and elation while also causing an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.