CHICAGO—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers recently seized more than 205 pounds of Khat concealed in computers that arrived in Chicago as part of an international freight shipment.
Based on intelligence provided by CBP officers at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis, the Chicago officers X-rayed the computers and observed anomalies. They opened the computers and found several bundles of Khat. Khat is a plant native to parts of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula and which is classified as a controlled substance. 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).
"This is outstanding work by our officers in both Chicago and Indianapolis," said William Ferrara,acting director of CBP Chicago Office of Field Operations. "The interesting part of this seizure is the way the Khat was hidden inside the computers. Concealment methods vary and can be very difficult to detect but CBP officers are well trained, experienced and strongly motivated in detecting any type of contraband."
The Khat shrub grows in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Yemen.Individuals who abuse Khat typically experience a state of mild depression following periods of prolonged use. Taken in excess Khat causes extreme thirst, hyperactivity, insomnia, and loss of appetite. Khat can reduce the user's motivation and can cause manic behavior with grandiose delusions, paranoia, and hallucinations. Khat can cause damage to the nervous, respiratory, circulatory, and digestive systems. Khat is classified as a Schedule IV drug.
CBP officers and agriculture specialists are stationed at express consignment and cargo facilities throughout the country. CBP is constantly examining arriving international freight and on the lookout for any type of contraband or prohibited items being shipped to the United States.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.