Khat in Kansas

This is one more in the continuing story of how beautiful diversity can be when it arrives in small town America, this time (again!) Garden City, KS.  This is the third story in two days that demonstrates the axiom ‘diversity is strength’ in Garden City.   The previous two posts are here and here.  

Don’t you wonder who made up that ‘diversity is strength’ business?  I can just see a bunch of ’60’s radicals like Bill Ayers and Wade Rathke sitting around with a little Mary Jane and coming up with it, and hey, if we repeat it enough it will be true.

But, I’m digressing, this is the whole (very informational) article from the Garden City Telegram on June 20th:

The local recipient of an international parcel containing khat, a flowering evergreen shrub native to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, has been arrested on allegations of possession with intent to distribute and no Kansas drug-tax stamp.

Mohamed Ahmed, 312 W. Mary St., Apt. H3, was arrested Monday and lodged at the Finney County jail during a traffic stop, after he picked up his delivery containing the illegal drug substance at the post office, said Lt. Gibson Auten of the Garden City Police Department.

Officials from the U.S. Postal Service first contacted the Garden City/Finney County Drug Task Force June 13 about the suspicious package from Ethiopia and addressed to Ahmed. Officers inspected the package with a large tear on the top and found a vegetable substance inside blue packaging material, Auten said. Auten said Ahmed admitted the package contained khat after his arrest.

A search warrant subsequently served at Ahmed’s residence revealed individual packages of khat as well as another large package of khat being stored in an abandoned vehicle in front of the residence, Auten said.

More than 30 pounds of khat were recovered and a 2001 Chevrolet Impala and a 1995 Pontiac Grand Am were seized. Auten did not have a total cash value for the alleged seizure.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the fresh leaves, twigs, and shoots of the khat shrub are chewed, and then retained in the cheek and chewed intermittently to release its active drug.

While illegal in the United States, the plant is legal in much of Europe, East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, and individuals of East African and Middle Eastern descent most often are responsible for the importation, distribution, possession and use of khat in America, according to the DEA.

For new readers, here is our khat archive.

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