Illegal African drug seized in north Iowa


If you’ve never heard of Khat, you’re not alone. It’s not commonly heard of in the United States but the effects of the drug are similar to that of methamphetamines.

The drug may be native to Africa, but it’s finding its way to the United States and even through our area.

Interstate 35 and state highway 105 that’s the intersection near where 38-year old Dayax Abdi Ahmed was arrested for possession of Khat, a plant that grows in the horn of Africa.

“Similar to methamphetamine effects, there is some euphoria and there is some hallucinations depending on the use and who the person is, they can smoke it but the most common thing is they just put it in like chewing tobacco and get their high that way,” says Sheriff Kevin Pals, Chairman of the North Central Iowa Narcotics Task Force.

The drug is legal in Africa, but is not in the US and the North Central Iowa Narcotics Task Force is apart of an ongoing investigation into how Khat is getting into Iowa and Minnesota.

Sheriff Pals says the task force got information that Khat was coming through our area in package form.

“Through the investigation we set up an operation to catch the person that was responsible for receiving the package.”

Authorities say Ahmed was in possession of multiple pounds of Khat which had an estimated street value of $8,000.

The task force believes that packages of the drug are being sent from Africa to rural areas and then transported to larger cities like Minneapolis and St Paul.

“The people that are transporting this illegal drug are using out land areas to get it shipped into and then haul it back up there so they can distribute it that way.”

Ahmed was taken to worth county jail and charged with possession of Khat with the intent to deliver.

The task force is continuing their investigation of this drug making its way through our area.

Khat is considered a Schedule One controlled substance meaning there is currently no accepted medical use in the United States and there is a high potential for abuse.

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