(INDIANAPOLIS) - Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, has announced the successful prosecution of eleven individuals charged with trafficking in cathinone,often called "khat," a new drug being imported into the Indianapolis area from eastern Africa.
Two of the defendants, Hussein Ahmed and Handule Mohamed, were also convicted of laundering the proceeds of the drug offenses through Dahabshil, Inc., a money service business operating in Indianapolis.
"These sentencings mark the successful conclusion to one of the first khat trafficking prosecutions anywhere in the country," Hogsett noted. "In this case, we have a powerful example
of how effective law enforcement can be when working collaboratively to combat new and growing dangers to our community."
The defendants admitted to conspiring with individuals overseas to import a drug called cathinone, a stimulant found within the "khat" plant.
Khat is a tall, flowering evergreen shrub cultivated and harvested throughout the Horn of Africa, including Kenya and Ethiopia, and has begun to be smuggled into the United States in recent years.
The majority of the khat plants involved in the charged conspiracy were shipped from the Horn of Africa to the Netherlands or the United Kingdom, and then forwarded to conspirators residing in Indianapolis through mail carriers such as UPS and FedEx.
The cathinone found within the seized khat plants acts as a stimulant, and is similar to amphetamine.
During the investigation, the FBI seized in excess of 400 kilograms of khat being transported between Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio.
The street value of the drugs law enforcement seized during the investigation was in excess of $400,000.00.
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