Cincinnati - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the DHL freight facility in Cincinnati early Wednesday, seized more than 30 pounds of khat concealed in a gaming chair.
The officers made the discovery through an anomaly on an x-ray examination. After taking a closer look at the chair, several bundles of khat were discovered. There are no arrests at this time and the case is still under investigation.
The fresh leaves, twigs and shoots of the khat shrub are chewed and then retained in the cheek and chewed intermittently to release the active drug. The khat shrub grows on 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.
"The interesting part of this seizure is the way the khat was hidden inside the gaming chair," said Brian Humphrey, the acting director of field operations in Chicago. "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."
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.