NY busts international khat ring

Comment on this story
iol news pic Khat Qat [email protected] The Khat or Qat plant is native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula where inhabitants have injested it for centuries.

New York- New York authorities on Friday announced criminal charges against 17 people accused of running an international drug ring trafficking in tons of khat, a leafy plant chewed as a stimulant.

The ring allegedly moved the khat across four continents and distributed it in New York, Massachusetts and Ohio, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and New York City Police Department Commissioner William Bratton said.

Khat is grown and sold legally in much of eastern Africa where chewing the plant is an ancient social custom. It is widely consumed by Yemeni, Somali and Ethiopian communities and is considered a controlled substance in the United States.

According to the 215-count indictment unsealed in Brooklyn Supreme Court, the khat was obtained in Yemen, Kenya and Ethiopia and shipped to the United States through the United Kingdom, China, Holland and Belgium.

“Khat is a dangerous and illegal drug with worldwide reach,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “As a result of this international takedown, a sophisticated operation accused of bringing drugs into the United States and sending the profits overseas has been shut down.”

Following a nearly yearlong investigation, the indictment charges 17 co-conspirators - from England; New York City; Rochester, New York; Everett, Massachusetts; and Blaine, Minnesota - with crimes including drug trafficking and possession, money laundering and conspiracy.


sign up

Comment Guidelines

  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

  5. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles. You are only required to verify your email address once to have full access to commenting on articles. For more information please read our comment guidelines