Ohio troopers seize 240 pounds of khat

(Photo courtesy: Ohio State Highway Patrol)

UPPER SANDUSKY, Ohio– The Ohio State Highway Patrol seized 240 pounds of a controlled substance called khat this week.

Troopers stopped a vehicle near Upper Sandusky in Wyandot County for speeding on Thursday.

The highway patrol said a drug-sniffing canine from the Upper Sandusky Police Department alerted them to the SUV. That’s when troopers performed a search and found the khat, worth more than $48,000.

Jesse Naim, 19, and Christian Reivera-Ittayem, 20, both of Michigan, were arrested. The pair were taken to the Wyandot County Jail, and charged with possession of khat and trafficking in drugs.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, khat is a flowering shrub native to East Africa and the Arabian-Peninsula. It’s used as a recreational drug that creates euphoric effects. The leaves and shoots of the plant are chewed, then kept the cheek, like chewing tobacco.