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The Sale of Khat: African Stimulant Being Sold at Mississippi Store, Owner Busted

GREENVILLE, Miss.–A stimulant known as “Khat” was being sold at the Hakims Mini Mart in Greenville, said Atty. Gen. Jim Hood, Tuesday. Agents searched the store and the owner’s home and Mohamed Anagi Mohamed, 44, of Greenville, was arrested.

Mohamed is charged with the sale of a schedule III narcotic, said Hood.

During a joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, the Criminal Interdiction Unit of the Mississippi Highway Patrol and the Greenville Police Department, agents seized about ten pounds of what appeared to be “Khat” at both the store and Mohamed’s home.

Khat is popular in Somalia, Ethiopia and Yemen.  It is a plant which contains a powerful central nervous system stimulant, and chronic use has been known to cause grandiose delusions, violence, suicidal depression and paranoid delusions. The leaves and stem tips are chewed, and Khat is sold either as a plant or in dried form, said Hood in a news release.

Mohamed is accused of selling Khat from the store in $100 quantities. Other items seized are consistent with the sale of controlled substances, including digital scales.

The investigation started as a counterfeit drug investigation and developed into a large controlled substance case, said Hood.

“I am not commenting on this particular case. However, we have intel that money made from the sale of Khat and other similar recreational drugs often sold in convenience stores, is moving back to Europe and the Middle East to fund mechanisms of terrorism,” said Hood.

If convicted, Mohamed faces up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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