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724 pounds of Khat sent from Nigeria intercepted in Baltimore

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Posted at 2:17 PM, Feb 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-22 15:39:02-05

BALTIMORE — Around Valentines Day, the Baltimore U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is used to examining flowers, but it was a different kind of plant material that caught their eye recently.

The Baltimore CBP says they intercepted 724 pounds of Khat that was shipped from Nigeria to Dulles Airport on February 12 and 13. Khat is a plant that when chewed gives you a stimulant effect. The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies cathinone as a schedule 1 drug, the most restrictive category used by the DEA.

The first shipment of 491 pounds arrived on February 12 disguised as green tea. The next day another "green tea" shipment came in that weight 223 pounds. Both shipments had dried leaves that CBP believe was khat.

“Customs and Border Protection is our nation’s first line of defense against transnational criminal organizations that thrive on the sale of illicit products such as khat to fund their other nefarious businesses,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Field Operations Director in Baltimore. “We will remain steadfast in our commitment to secure our homeland and to help protect the health and well-being of our families and the American public.”

CBP routinely inspects things that come in and out of international flights across the country.