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Dulles CBP Seizes 410 Pounds of Khat in Air Cargo from Nigeria

Release Date: 
February 26, 2019

Total 1,404 Pounds Seized at Dulles and BWI during February

STERLING, Virginia – Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) seizure of khat shipments continued Monday when officers bagged another 410 pounds in air cargo at Washington Dulles International Airport.

CBP officers seized 410 pounds of khat in air cargo at Washington Dulles International Airport February 25, 2019.
CBP officers seized 410 pounds
of khat shipped from Nigeria.

During February, CBP officers seized more than 1,400 pounds of the green, leafy plant at Dulles and at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI). All shipments arrived from Nigeria.

In this latest seizure, CBP officers examined a shipment February 20 from Nigeria that was manifested as “dry moringa oleifera” and destined to an address in Dallas. Officers discovered seven boxes with a combined 80 bags of a green, leafy product. The shipment weighed 186.28 kilograms, or about 410 pounds, 11 ounces.

CBP submitted samples to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) botanist who verified the substance Friday as Catha Edulis, commonly known as khat. Officers seized the khat Monday. The khat will be destroyed.

“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. “But khat possession and use remains illegal in the United States and CBP officers remain committed to protecting our communities from illicit and dangerous drugs.”

CBP officers recently seized nearly 269 pounds of khat at Dulles, and another 724 pounds of khat at BWI.

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. 

CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international flights and intercepts narcotics, weapons, currency, prohibited agriculture products, counterfeit goods and other illicit items at our nation’s 328 international ports of entry.  Learn what more CBP achieved during "A Typical Day" in 2017.

CBP's Border Security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations.  Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders.

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Last modified: 
March 4, 2019