3 April, 2006

Khatheads

Posted by alex in AmeriKwa, Christians, immigration at 4:13 pm | Permanent Link

[Jews take over the government. Jews take over the seminary. Jews pay corrupted Christian relief organizations to import African exotics. Who in turn bring in previously unheard-of drugs. Hijinks ensue! “AmeriKwa: The Sitcom,” new from the producers that made you laugh at Archie Bunker…]

Exotic African drug an overnight sensation

Express delivery is the pipeline of choice for Twin Cities khat smugglers

BY FREDERICK MELO
Pioneer Press

Djiboutians rush to buy the daily fresh khat supply, shortly after it was flown into Djibouti City, January 18, 2006. Khat, a leafy stimulant that's illegal in the U.S. and many western countries, dominates male life in the tiny Muslim nation of Djibouti.
Evelyn Hockstein/KRT
Djiboutians rush to buy the daily fresh khat supply, shortly after it was flown into Djibouti City, January 18, 2006. Khat, a leafy stimulant that’s illegal in the U.S. and many western countries, dominates male life in the tiny Muslim nation of Djibouti.

Khat, a leafy narcotic grown in Africa, has been seized in record amounts in the Twin Cities for the past six months, according to investigators in Dakota, Hennepin and Ramsey counties.

Because its tobacco-like leaf begins to lose potency after 48 hours, the illegal stimulant is shipped from Africa or Europe by overnight mail, making suburban UPS and Federal Express stores unwitting drug transporters.

The delivery companies are catching on, though, and alerting police.

“It can go two, three, four days in a row we’ll get a call from UPS or FedEx saying they’re holding onto suspicious packages,” said Lt. Richard Clark of the Ramsey County Drug Task Force, a partnership between the sheriff’s office and the police departments of Roseville and St. Paul.

But for every package that’s intercepted, Clark said he believes many more slip by unnoticed. Eager to keep ahead of authorities, smugglers appear to be switching to rural and suburban delivery sites to get khat to urban buyers.

“Minneapolis has seen it. St. Paul has seen it,” said Sgt. Todd Nelson of the Southwest Hennepin Drug Task Force. Now, it has spread to the suburbs and points beyond. “So there’s arrests in Moorhead, Nobles County (and) Chisago County,” he said.

On Thursday, authorities intercepted 40 pounds of khat (pronounced “cot”) at a Federal Express site in Maple Grove. The intended destination was in St. Paul.

And in late February, Moorhead police were tipped off to a 22-pound shipment of khat by an overnight delivery company. Officers searched the package’s intended destination and arrested two East African men, one from Minneapolis and the other from Fargo, N.D.

khat.jpgBecause of its fairly recent appearance in the suburbs, some officers don’t recognize khat for what it is.

Moorhead narcotics Detective Brad Stuvland said he has known patrol officers who have come across khat and thrown it out, not realizing that the small bundle of leaves and twigs, packaged in banana leaves to preserve moisture, warrants a charge of fifth-degree drug possession.

“It’s not a well-known drug to a lot of the officers,” Stuvland said.

That makes arrests the exception, rather than the rule.

Because khat helps suppress appetite, some Twin Cities police are accustomed to coming across the narcotic during Ramadan, the holy month when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. The month, which shifts with the lunar calendar, began last year in early October.

Officers expect khat use to wane after Ramadan, but that didn’t happen this year. “We’re seeing more and more activity at the beginning of this year,” Nelson said. “Stats are going through the roof.”

Each “piece” or “bundle” of khat sells for an estimated $25 to $50 on the street. Ramsey County investigators seized eight shipments in March, totaling more than 260 pounds.

“That’s the most we’ve taken off ever in a month. We didn’t take 260 pounds in all of last year,” said Deputy Sheriff Bruce Rossini, who estimated the street value of the shipments at between $27,000 and $50,000.

“And Customs (officials) are telling us we’re only getting about 5 to 10 percent of the packages being shipped,” Rossini said. “If you do the math, it’s a multimillion dollar industry, even just in Minnesota.”

Rossini said the increase in seizures has to do, in part, with greater awareness and cooperation between law enforcement and delivery agencies. Tim McCluskey, a spokesman for Memphis-based Federal Express, would not comment on khat shipments in particular but confirmed that the company often refers suspicious items to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as well as state and local authorities.

Cherise Miles, a spokeswoman for U.S. Customs, said officers pay special attention to packages shipped from locations in Africa or Europe, weighing between 20 and 25 pounds and labeled clothing or household goods.

Another telltale sign: Moist khat may give off heat, like wet hay.

“Some of the packages heat up, and they warm to the touch,” Rossini said. “Those are dead giveaways.”

Investigators say smugglers are becoming more ambitious and see the Twin Cities’ booming Somali population as an enticing market. According to state estimates, more than 25,000 Somalis live in the area.

In 2005, Customs and Border Protection intercepted 3,485 pounds of khat in Minnesota or in transit to the state from package shipping hubs, such as New York and Memphis, Tenn. The estimated street value of the seized supply is between $400,000 and $1.25 million.

Smugglers are also becoming savvier. Rather than send shipments of 60 pounds or more, they appear to be shipping multiple, smaller packages.

A typical year nets two khat busts, said John Grant, agent in charge of the Dakota County Drug Task Force. But this year is different. “We’ve probably gotten four in the past three months,” he said.

Grown in Ethiopia, Kenya and other countries in the Horn of Africa, the leafy cash crop is legal in East Africa and most European countries, although scorned by many Muslim religious leaders. The leaves, which can be chewed or brewed in tea, are said to gradually produce feelings of euphoria.

While researchers debate whether the drug is physically addictive or simply habit-forming, khat has been associated with side effects ranging from depression to hyperactivity, anorexia, insomnia and impotence.

“It’s associated with laziness,” said Omar Jamal, executive director of the St. Paul-based Somali Justice Advocacy Center. “People sit around for hours chewing.”

But Jamal worries that East African immigrants will be unfairly targeted as drug dealers for what’s considered a common pastime in their home countries.

“This is a classic case of culture clash,” said Jamal, who said Somalis from across the state have inundated his office with requests for legal help. “We’re getting calls from Moorhead. We’re getting calls from St. Cloud. We’re getting calls from Rochester, from Waseca. We’re getting calls from very small towns we’ve never even heard of before.”

Frederick Melo can be reached at [email protected] or 651-228-2172.

ABOUT THE DRUG

What is khat? It’s an evergreen shrub and grows to about 10 feet.

How is it used? Fresh leaves and stems are chewed to reduce appetite, increase alertness and induce euphoria.

Contents: Cathine and cathinone, which mimic the effects of amphetamines. Khat can be habit-forming.

Legality: Khat is illegal in the United States and Canada but is permitted in parts of Europe, eastern Africa and the Arabian peninsula.

Medicinal uses: Asthma, diabetes, lethargy and stomach ailments.

Side effects: While researchers debate whether the drug is physically addictive or simply habit-forming, khat has been associated with side effects ranging from depression to hyperactivity, anorexia, insomnia and impotence.


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  7. 6 Responses to “Khatheads”

    1. Outis Says:

      Oh God, khat in America? The kids’ll love it.

      I’ve tried this khat. You can get it from Freekins in northern Italy. Pretty gross — turns your teeth green, makes you incredibly nervous, and I found myself constipated afterward.

      Before you ask why I was buying a narcotic off Africans, I wasn’t; an Italian shared it with me. Drugs are everywhere in northern Italy, there’s no escaping them. As a scientific man I felt obligated to try a new substance, and had read about it before, doing research on a plan I had for vising Ethiopia (again for my own reasons).

    2. Olde Dutch Says:

      The illegal drug business is a huge part of this immigration debate that no one wants to talk about. The money changing hands, between the smugglers, the corrupt politicians and the bought off police is huge. I’ve got to wonder what jews like Specter, Schumer, Feinstein, Feingold, Kohl etc. etc what’s in it for them and for the jew mob.

      Immigration creates whole new markets for the illegal drug business. Complete with imported customers and illegal alien mules.

    3. wayne h. Says:

      Old Dutch makes a good point .The war on drugs is a fraud.From Nicaragua to Afganistan ,jewish ecstacy ,columbian cocain .This is a black market in the untold hundreds of billions .The USA is one of the biggest markets .I think this is where the money for wars comes from. After the invasion Afganistan had record opium crops ,The border is wide open for mexican meth and coke .They launder the money through jewish banks .CASH FOR WAR.

    4. Carpenter Says:

      I think this is where the money for wars comes from.

      Never speculate, find out the truth. The money for wars comes from the treasury.

      Qat – I’ve seen a documentary that portrayed it as a good thing. The whole documentary was a reporter interviewing locals who told her how qat made them smarter, tougher, made them better drivers, etc etc etc. Not a spec of scientific research as far as the eye could see; a propaganda piece meant to show how boring and uptight we Westerners are, while muds are more relaxed in their attitude to that which is cool.

      We bring in muds, they bring with them mud customs. Oops, sounds like diversity didn’t turn us all into liberal intellectuals after all. But then again, that was never the real purpose.

    5. B Says:

      Like wayne h. says narcotics from non-White countries(opium/heroin from afghanistan, mexico, columbia- cocaine from mexico and columbia) are bringing in hundreds of billions of dollars a year for non-white dealers, smugglers and mafias. The police in the US give the niggers and muds almost full immunity to deal very lucrative drugs and arrest any white person who attempts to profit from this powerful trade.

    6. B Says:

      Correction: the police do not give non-whites full immunity to deal drugs but they definately turn the other way much more than they would a white dealer especially in inner city neighboorhoods where drugs are sold openly on the street. The whole situations stinks of corruption.