U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers on Monday seized a large quantity of khat shipped in air cargo from Nigeria at Dulles Airport.

While examining air cargo on Sunday, CBP officers discovered foil-wrapped bundles of a green leafy material that was concealed within 18 boxes of a variety of “African fabric.” Officers submitted samples to a U.S. Department of Agriculture botanist who confirmed the plant material as khat.

According to the agency, the khat, which weighed in at 312 kilograms, or 678 pounds and 13 ounces, had a street value of about $85,000. The shipment was destined to an address in Essex County, N.J.

“This seizure of khat illustrates how our thorough inspections of international cargo helps to keep illicit and dangerous products out of our communities,” stated Casey Durst, director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “Narcotics interdiction remains a priority mission for Customs and Border Protection and a responsibility that we take very serious.”

Khat is typically grown in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula and is chewed for its stimulant effect. The World Health Organization classified khat as a drug of abuse in 1980. The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies cathinone as a schedule 1 drug – the most restrictive category used by the DEA, and cathine as a Schedule IV controlled substance. 

678 Pounds of Nigerian Khat Seized at Dulles Airport

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers on Nov. 9 seized a large quantity of khat shipped in air cargo from Nigeria at Dulles Airport. [CBP Photo]

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