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AIRPORT SECURITY FINDS 2.9 KG OF KHAT

By Alfa, Mar 15, 2004 | |
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  1. Alfa
    AIRPORT SECURITY FINDS 2.9 KG OF NARCOTIC KHAT

    Customs officials have seized narcotics and thousands of dollars in
    undeclared cash and traveller's cheques from a man who arrived in Calgary
    on a flight from the United Kingdom.

    Officers searching the man's luggage during an examination Tuesday found
    2.9 kilograms of khat, a plant grown in east Africa and the Middle East
    that can have a mild hallucinogenic effect when its leaves are chewed.

    "Where it comes from, it's not illegal, but it is in Canada," Gordon
    Luchia, a spokesman for the Canada Border Services Agency, said Wednesday.

    Khat is grown mainly in Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen and Somalia and its use is
    common there. Chewing khat can produce feelings of euphoria and increased
    alertness, but excessive consumption can cause slurred speech, staggering
    and violence among users.

    The man arrived on a flight from London, but neither Luchia nor RCMP
    investigators had any details about his nationality Wednesday.

    London was the place of origin of the last significant khat seizure in
    Calgary, which happened last May, when officers found 46 kilograms of the
    substance stashed in a suitcase and a backpack belonging to a traveller
    arriving from the British capital.

    The khat seized Tuesday is worth approximately $1,450, Luchia said.

    In addition to the 21 bundles of khat hidden among clothes in the man's
    luggage, officers found $15,000 of undeclared U.S. traveller's cheques and
    $3,800 in cash.

    Federal proceeds-of-crime laws, as well as the Terrorist Financing Act,
    require anyone entering the country to declare if they are carrying
    monetary instruments worth more than $10,000. The traveller has been turned
    over to the RCMP, which is investigating.

    The man's cash and traveller's cheques have been seized pending the outcome
    of an investigation.

    Depending on the outcome, investigators could permanently seize the entire
    amount, or levy a fine of up to $5,000 for not declaring cash and
    traveller's cheques.

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