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Cops seize shipment of the narcotic khat, a first in Philly
Issue 297
Front Page

Haatuf Reporter Jailed in Berbera

Ugandan Foreign Minister Says His Country’s Military Presence In Somalia Will Pose No Danger In Somaliland

Somaliland Urges Arabs To Accept Its Passport

Somaliland’s Interior Minister Undergoes Heart Bypass In South Africa

A U.S. Diplomat On Thursday Dismissed Widespread Criticism Of Somaliland

Tensions Rise in Sool Region

Three Somali govt soldiers killed in fierce battle

Myanmar, Somalia worst for corruption

Somalia teeters on edge of survival

Straight to the point

America’s woes with international law

Arab League Supports "IGAD" Force in Somalia, On Darfur Serious if UN Rejects Egyptian Troops

Daily violence bleeds life out of Somalia's largest market

Regional Affairs

Officials Express Concern About Somaliland-Puntland Clashes

Somaliland reportedly hands over three Ethiopian army deserters

Special Report

International News

Only Cheney Knows for Sure
Just How Powerful is the Israel Lobby?

US$1 Million Alcan Prize for Sustainability 2007 Shortlist Announced

Cops seize shipment of the narcotic khat, a first in Philly

Thousands of Somalis Soon Entering the Workforce


An Eleven Old 'Colindale' Boy Makes Kids Smile In Hargeysa

Invisible Warriors- Somaliland Camel Corps History

Jawahir promotes Somaliland in African capitals

Somali teen takes top Euro award

Canada Changes Policy on Macedonia Name

800 Chinese State-owned enterprises active in Africa, covering every country

Experts warn Somalia disintegrating

WB, UN Join Drive To Recover Corrupt Leaders’ Spoils

Food for thought


Saudi Arabia takes the wrong approach to Somali conflict

Bad Choices

KULMIYE Is The Most Democratic Party, Doctor

Youth Must Prove That They Can Lead


Part 2 Of The Dangerous Smell Of Crude Oil That May Ignite A New Civil War In Somalia

Calling All Somaliland/UK Scholars 1969-71

Islam And Alcoholism


Philadelphia, 27 September 2007 - Philadelphia police have made their first seizure of the drug khat, a narcotic plant that is popular in East Africa and the Saudi Arabian peninsula.

Undercover narcotics cops on Wednesday seized 740 pounds of khat that was being delivered to an East Falls address, said Lt. Frank Vanore, a police spokesman. The value of the drugs has been put at about $148,000.

Vanore said it was the first seizure of khat (pronounced COT) in Philadelphia and perhaps the first in the state. No arrests had been made as of yesterday afternoon.

The khat leaves and twigs that are routinely chewed as part of socializing with friends in places like Somalia and Yemen were wrapped in banana leaves and packaged in boxes.

"It is not illegal in Europe or Africa; it's legalized there," Vanore said. "But here, we have it as a Schedule 1 narcotic" - the same as cocaine and heroin.

Narcotics Chief Inspector William Blackburn said the khat is typically found in places like Detroit, Minneapolis, Dallas, Boston and New York.

"According to intelligence reports, it's prevalent in areas that have large populations of people from Somalia, Ethiopia and Yemen," Blackburn said.

Blackburn said khat leaves are chewed like tobacco or added to tea or food products.

The drug produces an excitement and euphoria that is similar to the effects of cocaine or marijuana, and can last anywhere from 90 minutes to 24 hours.

The side effects can also include hallucinations and paranoia, Blackburn said.

Khat, which is also spelled Qat or Kat, is a natural drug that comes from the Celastrus edulis plant. Khat contains cathine (d-norisoephedrine), cathidine and cathinine. Cathine is also one of the alkaloids found in Ephedra vulgaris, according to Internet reports.

"We just want to make people aware of it," Vanore said. "We don't think it's being frequently used here now, but our concern is that it's very, very inexpensive and it could become a problem."

He said it neither looks nor smells like marijuana. It has a very strong odor.

"It doesn't have a very good shelf life," Vanore said. "Once it's out for a certain period of time, it loses its narcotic effect." *

Staff writer David Gambacorta contributed to this report.

Source: Philadelphia Daily News


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