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Khat leaves worth ₹1.17 cr. seized

Five parcels from Kenya seized at the Foreign Post Office

The Customs officials at the airport seized 46.8 kg of khat leaves brought in parcels and arrested a 27-year-old aeronautical engineer working in a city-based IT company.

Based on information that narcotics were likely to be smuggled through postal parcels arriving from Africa, five parcels, which arrived from Nairobi, Kenya, were seized at the Foreign Post Office, Chennai. The first parcel was declared to contain “flower vases”.

11 vases found

Upon opening, 11 wooden vases wrapped in white foam sheet were found. On close examination, each vase was found to be sealed.

On opening the top, a pink polybag was found inside, in which khat leaves were concealed. The tops of all the 11 vases were cut open and khat leaves recovered.

The other four parcels were declared to contain ‘rosemary’ and ‘dried spices’.

Upon opening the parcels, a silver opaque polybag was found inside, in which five pink polybags containing dried leaves suspected to be khat leaves were concealed. In total, 46.8 kg of khat leaves worth ₹1.17 crore were recovered and seized under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

A press release from the Commissioner of Customs said khat (Catha edulis), also known as mraa, is a stimulant drug and is prohibited under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

Khat is an evergreen shrub mainly cultivated in East Africa and South Yemen. It contains alkaloids cathinone and cathine, amphetamine like stimulants, which cause euphoria. Khat is mainly chewed for its soporific effect but some boil it in water and drink it like tea and has a dependence producing ability.

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