PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized nearly 69 pounds of khat in four express international parcels in Philadelphia October 25.
The parcels were shipped from Frankfurt, Germany and destined to address in Minneapolis, Minn. They weighed 8.8, 8.65, 6.9 and 6.9 kilograms for a combined weight of 31.25 kilograms, or 68 pounds, 14 ounces. The khat has a street value of about $18,000. Authorities made no arrests. An investigation continues.
CBP’s National Targeting Center (NTC) helped Philadelphia officers identify the four parcels for examination. The NTC helps to keep terrorism and other nefarious activity out of the United States by filtering through advance information of arriving travelers and cargo to identify those that pose potential threats to our national security.
“This khat seizure demonstrates how much Customs and Border Protection inspectional scrutiny international cargo undergoes before it can safely enter the United States,” said Joseph Martella, Acting CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. “Khat remains illegal to import into the United States and so CBP officers will continue to seize khat when we encounter it. Drug interdiction at our nation’s borders is one way in which CBP helps to keep our communities safe.”
Khat is a green, leafy plant typically grown in the Arabian Peninsula and chewed for its stimulant effect. The World Health Organization classified khat as a drug of abuse in 1980.
The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies khat as a schedule 1 narcotic – the most restrictive category used by the DEA – when the leaves are freshly picked. Its principal components, cathine and cathinone, are considered controlled substances in the United States.
CBP officers in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh seized a combined 207 pounds of khat earlier in 2017.
“Narcotics interdiction remains an enforcement priority for Customs and Border Protection,” said Casey Owen Durst, CBP’s Field Operations Director in Baltimore, the agency’s operational commander in the mid-Atlantic region. “CBP officers remain ever vigilant in combating the flow of illicit and dangerous drugs from entering the United States at our nation’s ports of entry.”
CBP routinely conducts random inspections operations on international passengers and cargo and searches for narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products.
On a typical day, CBP seizes more than 9,000 pounds of illicit drugs along our nation’s borders. Learn more about what CBP's accomplishes in "A Typical Day."
Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn how CBP Field Operations secures our nation’s borders.