Man admits he wanted to sell 950 pounds of khat he picked up at Newark Airport
A 46-year-old man admitted to attempting to salvage a shipment of around 950 pounds of khat – a flowering shrub sometimes abused for its stimulating effects – from Newark Liberty International Airport earlier this year.
Azeez Adebari, from Harrisburg, Pa., Showed up at the airport on May 3 to collect the cargo and was arrested because his name was on the list of co-signers, the New Jersey United States Attorney’s Office said in a statement. The shipping manifest and customs documents indicated that the container contained clothing, ground melon, pepper and hair accessories, according to court documents.
Adebari was taken into custody as he and another person loaded the khat into what the loading documents describe as a “transport vehicle”. The two planned to deliver the khat to an address in Newark, Forensic Paper State.
Officials said U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials identified the cargo container as suspected khat when it arrived by plane on April 21.
Khat contains two active ingredients that are controlled substances: cathinone and cathine, officials said. Cultivated in the Arabian Peninsula and in many parts of Africa, the green, leafy plant is chewed for a stimulating effect.
Adebari has pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute a quantity of a mixture containing cathinone and cathine and faces up to 20 years in federal prison upon his conviction on January 27, 2022.
In June, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized more than 6.8 tonnes of khat valued at $ 3.8 million from two shipments discovered at New York Port and from New Jersey.
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Jeff Goldman can be reached at [email protected].