Police seize 59 pounds of khat in I-80 stop
July 23, 2005 - zwire.com
BLOOMSBURG (AP) - State police seized 59 pounds of khat, a leafy drug popular in Africa and the Middle East, from a van that had a flat tire on Interstate 80.
The driver, Mohamed Gelatu Guye, 46, of Jersey City, N.J., was charged with drug possession and possession with intent to deliver or manufacture and jailed in lieu of $250,000 bail, police said. It wasn't immediately clear whether he had an attorney.
Guye, described as an unemployed Ethiopian native, told investigators he was paid $300 to drive the khat from New York City to Columbus, Ohio, and had a flat tire as he drove west through Columbia County about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, police said.
Troopers Lisa Marie Girman and Joseph Warunek spotted the disabled van and stopped to help, and said Guye appeared nervous and tried to distract them from looking inside the van. Girman looked through the windows and spotted wrapped bundles of khat partially hidden under a blanket.
State Police Sgt. Scott Price said they seized 260 wrapped bundles of the African flowering shrub, a stimulant that can produce euphoria when chewed or brewed as tea.