20 pounds of khat discovered in Upper Mifflin traffic stop
About 20 pounds of khat were found following a traffic stop on the Pennsylvania Turnpike Tuesday, according to state police at Newville.
Police said they made a routine stop on Hersi Mohamed, 38, of Columbus, Ohio, at 5:39 p.m. and observed “numerous indicators of criminal activity.” They asked and received permission to conduct a search, they said, which led to the discovery of the khat.
Police said khat contains cathinone, a Schedule 1 controlled substance stimulant that causes hallucinations.
During the stop, police said, they discovered that Mohamed was wanted on a “dangerous drug” charge from Ohio. He was arrested and remains in Cumberland County Prison in lieu of $300,000 bail.
In July Upper Allen Township police arrested two men accused of possessing about 40 pounds of khat with a street value of up to $10,000. They said khat, pronounced “cot,” is a flowering shrub native to northeast Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
It is typically ingested by chewing the leaves or by brewing or cooking dried leaves, police said, which instantly increases blood pressure and heart rate. They noted that abusers claim it lifts spirits, sharpens thinking, and increases energy — effects similar to but less intense than those caused by abusing cocaine or methamphetamine.
By staff reports, September 16, 2009