Two men have been arrested in what’s believed to be the biggest seizure of khat in Fairfax County history.
The bust was made Saturday in Falls Church when a police officer spotted what appeared to be a drug transaction between a couple of guys in a parking lot at 5981 Columbia Pike.
The officer soon determined that one man was buying khat from the other. Both were arrested, and 21 pounds of khat was seized. Another 111 pounds of the stuff was found later at the home of one of the suspects.
Ahmed Omer Abdujelel, 45, of Falls Church, Va., was charged with distribution. Ali Abdi Hersi, 47, of northwest Washington, D.C., was charged with possession.
Khat is a flowering plant native to East Africa and the Arabian peninsula that contains a powerful amphetamine-like stimulant. For that reason, it’s classified as a Schedule I controlled drug – making it illegal to sell or produce it in the United States, though it is legal in many countries.
It’s typically chewed like tobacco, though it can be smoked or sprinkled on food.