A Pennsylvania man has been arrested in New Jersey and charged with conspiring to distribute 430 kilograms of khat.

Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael Honig says 46-year-old Azeez Adebari of Harrisburg, PA, is charged with one count of conspiring to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute a quantity of a mixture containing cathinone and cathine. He was arrested Monday at Newark International Airport.

Khat, according to Honig's office, "is a flowering shrub that is abused for its stimulant-like effects and has no accepted medical use in the United States. Khat contains two active ingredients that are controlled substances: cathinone, a Schedule I controlled substance, and cathine, a Schedule II controlled substance."

According to court documents,

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On April 21, 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers identified a freight container suspected of containing khat that had arrived by air at Newark International Airport. CBP officers determined that the shipment contained approximately 430 kilograms of khat. The shipping manifest and other customs documentation identified the contents of the shipment as clothing, and ground melon and pepper, among other things. On May 3, 2021, Adebari, who was listed as the consignee on the shipment, arrived at Newark Airport to pick up the khat shipment and was arrested.

Adebari faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million if convicted.

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